We love our libraries - let's protect them

Do you love your local library? Did you read books there as a child? Do you visit as an adult? Our libraries are wonderful places - we need to save them!
"Libraries, in fact all libraries, hold a hallowed place in my heart. Could there be anything more beautiful, more aspirational, more elegant or more sexy than a public library. It’s a simple concept isn’t it. Get a building, fill it with books, people read them. Yes, I know it’s far more sophisticated than that now, there’s DVDs, CDs, online books and no doubt all manner of other things going on, but the basic concept has a beautiful simplicity. Sharing knowledge for free, a repository where pages and pages of facts, fantasy and fiction can be the gateway to your soul."  Anthony Roberts

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, libraries were created - wonderful places where children and adults could read and explore, learn and enjoy. But then an evil government came into power.
The government didn't care about the books and learning, the joy and support that libraries gave people. The government made up a story about 'austerity'. It told councils across the land 'we have to save money'.

“The government’s response to libraries being among our most used and trusted public services is to cut budgets and hollow out services.” Nick Poole, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals 

Huge cuts to local authority funding put libraries under threat. Councils are under a lot of pressure to close libraries or rely on volunteers instead of trained librarians. Libraries have lost £25 million from their budgets and the number of public libraries still open has reached a 10 year low. Book budgets are being drastically cut.

A handful of our libraries were privatised and run by Carillion - but they are now being run by councils again. The US, where private company LSSI is the fourth largest provider of libraries, offers us a cautionary tale.
“Libraries are a great and much-loved treasure, and to see them being gradually starved of funds is like seeing a member of the family dying a slow death from some awful disease, for the want of a remedy that’s efficacious and infallible and easy to administer, but which someone is holding deliberately and malevolently just out of reach.” Philip Pullman, children's author, reported in the Guardian

Love your library? Get involved

We want libraries to be run by qualified librarians, well funded, well stocked, full of the books we love, alongside the fast computers and technology that people need. The big baddie here is the government. We need to spread the word: their story about austerity is actually a lie. And we need to join together locally to protect our precious libraries from cuts and privatisation. Find out more and take action:

The future of our libraries is up to us - let's make it a happy ending

Do you believe in public services for people not profit?

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Picture credit: Quentin Blake