15 Feb 2011

Authors love books! Less keen on Nick Clegg

I have signed this in today's Guardian but there are real authors like Phillip Pullman!

Speaking to the Oxford Mail last week, culture minister Ed Vaizey said: "People have to come with ideas. They have to look at different options." People the length and breadth of the UK have come up with ideas. They have discussed options. Between five and ten thousand people have rallied round their libraries (Culture minister will not intervene, 11 February). Hundreds of thousands have signed petitions. Well-known figures such as Lesley Garrett, Phill Jupitus, Tony Christie, Brian Blessed and Billy Bragg have added their voices to the call for a change of heart. At a hundred read-ins, communities, user groups and librarians have demonstrated in creative, fun ways just how much their libraries mean to them.

This is a grassroots movement. We hoped for a dozen events, but local people took up the call and made it something refreshing, urgent, local and liberating. They have put out a positive message: our libraries, our communities, our right to have a say over their future.

Over 400 libraries are under threat. Compare this with South Korea where 180 new libraries are being built. South Korea is top of the Pisa international rankings for competence in reading. In 10 years the UK has fallen from seventh to 25th. This is no time to cut libraries.


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