1 January 1992 is the date that The Library Charges (England and Wales) Regulations come into force and bring the philosophy of the free market into the public library world for the first time. Library authorities will be able to make a charge for, amongst other things, “assisting or instructing a person how to use a computer”, “for providing a room or cubicle on library premises for the purpose of working or studying…” and “for researching and for collating information for and at the request of a person”. Not only that but “the amount and the incidence of any charge made…shall be at the discretion of the relevant authority”. But you will doubtless be relieved to know that basic lending and reference provision will continue to be free in the old‐fashioned sense of the word.
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