04 April 2012

UK "Find a Library"

Government funding cuts have forced UK county councils to look at changes to the library status quo. According to a recent High Court decision regarding Surrey's plan the implications of proposals have not always been well thought through, but changes to locations or hours of operation or staffing, in some combination, seem likely if not already in place.
The UK has 4,040 public library branches. One way to support the library systems is to ask for service. While not all of them are staffed to deal with queries, and will refer them to a major local library in the system, being able to show the system is of service provides ammunition to keep them supported. It's something I've done twice so far this year in a quest for obituaries of WW1 soldiers in my family tree killed in action.
While you can likely find a library using a simple Google search another easy option is the ‘Find a Library’ website, smartphone friendly. It's at www.findalibrary.org.uk.

Enter a community name and it returns a list of hits. Click on one and you get a map showing the location of the nearest libraries and contact details. A surprise was to find it recognized not only community names but other names, so, for example, entering Gorleston found not only the community, part of Great Yarmouth, but also streets including the name such as Gorleston Road in London.

Find out more about this service at http://www.culturegrid.org.uk/use/uk-public-library-dataset/

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