Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, said he was “greatly concerned” by developments. “The librarian is not simply a checkout clerk whose simple task could be done by anyone and need not be paid for,” he said. “Those who think that every expert can be replaced by a cheerful volunteer who can step in and do a complex task for nothing but a cup of tea are those who fundamentally want to see every single public service sold off, closed down, abolished.”
Kate Mosse, author of current bestseller The Winter Ghost, said: “Skilled librarians don’t simply say, ‘Go to the third aisle on the right’. They can show people where to start, and that is not the same as a volunteer saying, ‘You might enjoy Danielle Steel’.