The news that 34 organisations now hold e4libraries accreditation may not sound much but, in a year when most of the news about libraries has been bad, it has been very encouraging that progress has been made in so many places in cutting costs and improving library users’ experiences. The e4libraries campaign has been based around the belief that investment in technology can go some way towards solving the funding issues for libraries and is a real alternative to closures or book stock reductions. The fact that the accredited libraries have gone on developing their EDI links, extended the use of RFID and self-service, bridged the notorious ravine which has separated libraries and their corporate finance systems, is an indication that investment does offer an alternative way forward.
If only there were more libraries which would come forward to apply for accreditation. Of the 34 organisations, just 23 are library authorities and academic libraries. If that is the number of libraries who are successfully tackling these issues, then the outlook is poor indeed.