Amazon library lockers criticised

A decision to fit Crawley Library with lockers for online retailer Amazon has been criticised.

West Sussex County Council said the facility, which allows Amazon customers to collect their goods from Crawley Library, would be good for library users and Amazon customers.

But Ifield resident Geraint Thomas questioned why the library service was being partnered with a private company that had been criticised for its tax arrangements.

Mr Thomas said: “I don’t quite understand why the council felt it appropriate to invite Amazon into a public library.

“I’m a great supporter of the library service and I don’t feel it’s right for a public space to be used for retail opportunities.”

The service allows customers to order from Amazon and pick up their delivery from a locker using a six-character pick-up code, which is sent to them via secure email upon delivery, instead of having parcels delivered to people’s homes.

MPs have described Amazon’s methods for avoiding paying tax on British profits as “immoral”.

Cllr Lionel Barnard, cabinet member responsible for libraries, said the relationship was under reivew.

He said: “The Prime Minister has prioritised Amazon’s tax affairs to the top of the G8 agenda, and the county council will keep the lockers issue under review.

“However, increased accessibility benefits the many small traders in West Sussex who rely largely on operating their businesses through Amazon.

“They, along with customers, will welcome easier collection arrangements.

“Many book buyers are also book borrowers so there is crossover.

“It provides a service that is appreciated by residents, some of whom have never used the library before.”