This is not to say that I have any truck with the idea of running public libraries without librarians. You can do it but you lose out on an important suite of skill sets. Which isn't to say that qualified librarians uniquely have these skills, but an even half-good librarian is a major asset to a public library service. Unfortunately, a bad librarian has a disproportionate effect because they're probably going to be in a position to maximise the impact of their awfulness.
A correspondent writes:
"One of our impoverished branch libraries, has been on the critical list for sometime and would have closed in the last cull had it not been for local circumstances. Anyway they managed to increase their book issues in 2008/09 by 52%, which included an 80% increase in Children’s Fiction and a 90% increase in Children’s Non-Fiction.
"Our Head of Children’s bit has told the assistant who has done much to achieve this that she shouldn’t have done anything without asking her first!
"So library assistants have to ask permission to increase the issues in a particular branch! We have one very upset assistant. "