At present there’s an alternative. You go along to the local library, use one of those and get online free. Many people do just that and it keeps them connected but it’s all going to change.
The Highways & Community Infrastructure Committee at the County Council has been looking at the library service with a view to it providing a better service and being more sustainable in the future. You can’t really argue with that and it has a good model viz Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016 to 2021, a government vision for libraries of the future. Click here to access it.
Trouble is our County Council is obsessed with money. Again you can’t argue with that given the straightened circumstances it finds itself in after refusing to raise funds when they’ve been available. But this means that it’s now got a list of what it’s going to do to raise money from our libraries. Incidentally there’s nothing in Libraries Deliver about charging for library services and raising money in other ways.
Some of the ideas on the list are not unreasonable but the one which will really affect some people is the one to charge people for using the internet. That seems wrong given that public libraries have always allowed people to use their services for free. That is surely a fundamental principle. And it’s ironic that those who own a laptop will still be able to use the public wifi at the library for as long as they like but those who don’t are going to have to pay.
There’s a petition against this move at http://bit.ly/2Bt8j1K. Please click through and sign it.