Libraries proposal could impact on health outcomes and crime

“Binge reading & Under-age reading!”

Word is out amongst our members working in Libraries that the current fantasy library proposals could rapidly lead to potentially serious medical conditions for Barnet Library users which could add further pressure on our local NHS services and an increase in crime.

“Binge reading” – health risks

Staffless Libraries will mean limited access to Barnet Libraries for children under 16 and people with disabilities. Our library workers believe this will inevitably lead to an outbreak of “binge reading”.

“It’s just an awful condition which leaves the customer badly in need of a regular fix of more and more books. They get really desperate and just any book will do. It’s sad to see, they don’t care, it could be fiction, non-fiction, or even magazines. I knew one customer who only read hardbacks, but once he began binge reading he was taking anything he could get his hands on. I just don’t think our Council realises the risks it’s taking with their Library proposals” (Anonymous Barnet Library worker)

Under-age reading & crime 

Barnet Library staff have reported their concern that as a result of restricted access for children under 16 to their local Library, there could be an increase of underage reading. One worker who wanted to remain anonymous said:

“It’s sad really, that the council has promoted a policy which could lead to underage reading. It leaves children at risk of exploitation. The idea that book pushers could populate the streets of Barnet is frightening. We know book pushers will not supply quality books, quite often it is cheap, poor quality books. But the books they push are addictive. I worry for young people, they should have access to high quality books available in a safe environment.”

John Burgess UNISON Branch secretary said:

“We have repeatedly warned the Council of the serious health and anti-social behaviour risks that could quickly sweep across our local communities. I believe there are well researched reports detailing the impact of binge reading on health outcomes which inevitably bring unwelcome pressure on an already overloaded NHS. The Council also refuses to accept the risk of increased crime as a result of under-age reading. The prospect of book pushers on the streets of Barnet fills me with dread. That is why I would encourage library lovers wherever you are to view this excellent Save Barnet Libraries Animation here and Sign our Save Barnet Libraries Petition here