EC Library where it costs £2,138 to borrow a book
A EURO library in Luxembourg is costing EU taxpayers £2,138 for EACH book borrowed. We are also footing a £1,379-a-book bill for a similar library in Brussels. The European Commission establishments, which cost £6.2 million a year to run, were condemned as a “scandalous” waste yesterday – particularly as they are not open to the public that pays for them… Latest statistics for 2003 show just 11,660 people used the two buildings – both known as the Central Library – at a cost of £532 per visit.
(The Sun 22 February 2005)
It does not cost taxpayers £2,138 for each book borrowed from the EC library. This dubious figure was arrived at by dividing some of the library’s running costs by some (certainly not all) of the number of books that were borrowed in person. This fails to take account of 750,000 visits made to library’s online catalogue, nearly 10,000 email inquiries and 8,000 phone calls library staff deal with annually, visits from students of 83 different universities, and nearly 300 from teachers and national civil servants. The Central Library is more than just a book lender, however. It is an essential archive facility that stores every document produced by the European Union – a similar function to that performed by the House of Commons Library in Westminster – and is a vital resource for policy makers. That’s not wasting public money, that’s providing a decent service, which members of the British public can apply to use if they so wish.