13 Sept 2011


At a time when public services, libraries included, are being drastically cut back are such questionnaires a good idea?

Designed as a way of making sure Equal Rights legislation is being complied with it seems some councils are asking new borrowers some fairly intrusive questions....... or are they?

The information is being gathered as part of efforts to comply with equal opportunity rules that are aimed at ensuring people who use public services do not suffer discrimination if they are homosexual, disabled or from an ethnic or religious minority.
But critics attacked the questionnaires as a waste of taxpayers’ money and called for an end to the “madness” at a time when many public libraries face funding cuts or closure. - Matthew Holehouse and Tim Ross, The Telegraph (27/08/2011).

But is it going too far to ask readers questions such as ......
  • Do you have a hidden impairment such as HIV, cancer or diabetes?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a Gypsy/Traveller?
  • Are you transgender?
  • How would you describe your sexual orientation?
- Islington, North London.

  • Does your gender differ from your birth sex?
- Haringey, North London.

  • Do you have a health condition such as cancer, HIV or Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
  • What is your sexuality/Race/Religion?

  • Do you have a mental health condition such as depression or schizophrenia?
  • Do you have a longstanding illness such as cancer or HIV?
- Brent, North London.

So, a necessary 'evil' in order to make sure all readers have equal access to services OR as Anastasia de Waal, head of education policy at the think tank Civitas, put it .......

“The point of a library is that it is open to everybody and that you go there to read and to get lost in a world of books and forget everything else,” she said. “If you are being asked what your status is, that is almost the reverse.

To read  the full article by Matthew Holehouse and Tim Ross click HERE.


Suko said...

Some of these questions do seem too personal.

Kelly said...

Did I understand correctly that these are questions in conjunction with using a library?? Why on earth would they need to get this personal?!

NRIGirl said...

Aren't they in trouble for it? I guess not yet!

Here in the States people would pounce on such an opportunity to sue...

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I hate labels. :P Oh and if you treat everyone the same, don't block access, then you are good. Doesn't that make sense?

Mamakucingbooks said...

its a bit too personal for me :p

Golden Eagle said...

Those are rather personal questions. :P

Carol said...

Our libraries are in decline as it is with many being closed, this kind of personal interrogation will surely put borrowers off.


The Bookworm said...

Some of those questions are way too nosey!

My Gallery of Worlds said...

They're not a mandatory questionnaires right?...I mean, can you still borrow books if you don't answer :o

Heather said...

I just want a book not an inquisition.

anilkurup59 said...

Yes it is intrusive . Some of the questions are too personal for the survey. Well ignore the inconvenient ones, the ones you do not want to answer.

Amrit said...

People who understand law break it the best.....well phrase the question that cannot be challenged