Friday, 3 December 2010

Library Closures

Libraries are closing all over the country. Our town lost its small library two months ago, just one of many. Just as worryingly, there is a pervasive trend to reduce the number of books on shelves and replace them with banks of computers. This means a profound disenfranchisement for many people of older years who don't have computers, don't know how to use them and yet retain a deep love of books.

My mother is one such person. Recently when she visited the large library in the town close by, she went to the floor which had always housed the bulk of the books for years and was surprised to see only rows of computers. She asked where the books had been moved to and was pointed to the back of the room, where she found that a couple of shelves were all that remained of the library's repository of books. The rest of the collection had been sold off cheaply to make way for the computers.

Libraries seem to be seen as soft targets and councillors up and down the land, under great pressure to reduce costs, are slashing the amount of money available to the library service. This is cultural barbarianism. It's taken well over a hundred years to provide the country with its many libraries. It looks as though it will take but a few months to destroy a large proportion of them.

Jeremy Hunt MP and Ed Vaizey MP are the two ministers at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport who are responsible for over seeing the well-being of libraries. I urge anyone who reads this to write to these people, and to their own MPs and protest as strongly as possible about this disastrous policy.

Also you can contact Alan Gibbons and become a signatory to his Campaign for the Book Alan is currently sending an open letter to the ministers and requires more signatures. People like Philip Pullman, Michael Rosen and Jacqueline Wilson have already added their names.

Other links:
Katherine Evans