Have Read-ins at town halls and civic centres in protest against library closures. Can dress up
Go to local town halls with a library book and sit down and read and refuse to leave at closing time. Could dress as faourite characters from literature.
Libraries up and down the country are being stripped of their books. Bookshelves full of books are being replaced by rows of computers and the books sold off cheaply on ebay and Amazon - connected dealers. In addition there has been a rise in the number of small libraries closing. My mother's generation who don't have or use computers are being deprived of their ability to access books. Also, as a published author, if people can't borrow my books, I will receive a reduced amount of money from the PLR system. Many authors and illustrators survive on low incomes anyway, and this will have a severe adverse effect on our ability to survive.
Melanie, not sure what you mean. Don't we all go to the County Councils, stand outside, look stupid and no one takes any notice? I've been there, done that. More worrying than libraries closing are the ones which could be sold to private companies. Be very afraid.
Better still, go to town halls, especially the Head of Leisure services offices. Please do not do this at the libraries, staff will not be happy if they have arranged to pick up children etc etc. Take the problem to the head honchos!
No 1 thing is to set up Friend of library groups,
John Dean commented
Geoff B is right.
This would be the way to clout the government for the seemingly (we hope) unintended consequences of their swinging spending cuts..
John Dean Save North Yorkshire Libraries
We need lots of people to do this - one or two won't make an impact !
Geof B commented
We need a national campaign, not just lots of local ones. The cuts to library services are the result of funding decisions by the UK Government, even though they are being carried out by local councils. We should not let the Government hide behind cries of "It's nothing to do with us!" Oh yes it is!
A member of the reading public commented
Public libraries are like parks for the mind. Closing them means that the government thinks ordinary people are only fit to read tabloids owned by Murdoch and his mates. Reading about ideas and possibilities of better / different worlds helps people escape the poverty in their existing world. Education, whether formal or self-directed, liberates the worker and makes them a citizen. Read-ins are a great idea.
If we lose our libraries and the experienced staff, we'll never get them back. Are we prepared to let this happen? Are they worth fighting for? We pay our taxes and get little in return and will soon get nothing. Let's make a stand and say we are NOT prepared to accept all the cuts.
Libraries are an invaluable resource. Please lets make this campaign huge!
Hazel Robinson commented
We can still make the required budget cuts and keep our libraries by doing as the government directs and saving on the enormous backline costs of our current systems - usually half or more of total library costs. Volunteers can be used for mechanical tasks but we still need librarians in branches - and access to a book fund. Most Councils try not to provide the data so the public can see where savings could be made and they seem impervious to counter-proposals. Do they really expect to be re-elected later this year?
Nick O commented
I have written a few articles on Saving the Library ( if anyone`s misguided enough to want to read them, they are at http://bookshelvesandbrownale.blogspot.com and http://angpav.blogspot.com ) but someone who has said more, and said it more effectively than I could, is Ian Clark, whose article `Libraries : the Foundation for a Democratic Society` (22 Sep 2010) appeared at www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress .
I don`t know who he is, but I like what he has to say !
Carol Morgan commented
I heartily agree. I had to take a Diploma in School Librarianship after my Degree & Dip Ed - how much training woulld volunteers have? Another investment wasted when the volunteer left to volunteer for something else? Which will be the next profession to be replaced by volunteers? Doctors? Lawyers? Nurses? Volunteers are needed to do the extra things eg run a Jigsaw Library, as I helped to do for 15 years - or produce a twice yearly village magazine, which I have done for nearly 30 years - helped by a team of nearly 60 more volunteers! We don't pretend to replace professionals!!
Will Jennings commented
Libraries are a part of our heritage and culture to close one library is a step backwards.
Edward Ewart a liberal MP introduced the libraries act in 1850. Benjamin Disraeli's conservative government introduced free schooling in 1880.
Evidentially both David Cameron and Oliver Letwin ( who wrote the conservative manifesto ) profess to be admirers of Disraeli.
I was told this week that the government have ringfenced a £billion in aid to India. Why can they not ringfence money for libraries and social care?
Borin Van Loon commented
This seems small beer to some of the other campaigns on this site, but is so fundamental to British culture. Libraries offer such great stuff to the community, most of it for free. They cost so little to run and maintain (in Suffolk only 0.896 of one per cent of the County Council's 2010/2011 budget!), are often underfunded (because councils often resent that the Public Libraries & Museums Act of 1964 obliges them as library authorities to provide a "comprehensive and efficient library service") and are leapt on at times of trouble as "easy cuts". One of the few things in our mean-spirited twenty-first century society which make life worthwhile are public libraries. Don't listen to those who claim that libraries are outdated by iPad/mobile 'phone/internet/digital television; all those things (probably) have their place but all the technophiles will wake up one day and when they want to borrow, at no charge, a novel or non-fiction book to read about something in depth they will find that the opportunity no longer exists. The Cameron/Clegg government may even resort to repeal of the Act to get rid of these bothersome libraries: keep the populace dumbed down and dumb when it comes to intelligent thought and engagement with politics which matter. But hurry. 38 Degrees needs to mobilise everyone against this indecent assault on reading, thinking, engaged people before the scurvy councils squeeze the life-blood out of our library system. In Suffolk all 44 branches are threatened with closure - the alacrity of the Tory-led Council here to attack the libraries is breath-taking - in the name of saving a few quid in a budget of 1 billion pounds. Makes no sense, unless you believe that these people are intent on keeping us uninformed and submissive. Please adopt this campaign before the closures and reduced funding make a laughing stock of our country. We led the way in the world in public library provision. Will we be the first to eradicate it?
Evidence suggests that libraries have a vital role in raising literacy levels, the role which sits at the heart of their identity.
Libraries provide families with babies and preschool children, with a vital literacy resource. Enriching the home learning environment of many families through rhyme times, outreach and free access to books.
Libraries provide school aged children with books, resources and space where they can learn to love reading.
For adults with low literacy skills libraries offer access to information and resources to re-engage them with learning.
All three of these roles are most effective for the most deprived in society. Libraries make the most difference to those who have the fewest books at home, where parental engagement is likely to be weakest and amongst those least likely to buy books or value reading. Libraries have a disproportionate benefit for the most disadvantaged.
We must not lose sight of the social purpose of libraries. We must not mistake them for a state-subsidised version of Waterstones.
Libraries are fundamentally an agency for creating a fairer society through learning, creating literacy and offering access to knowledge. This is why they merit state funding.
John H commented
Clegg and Cameron are both elitist, regardless of political party.
What the government would prefer is an uneducated underclass anaesthetised by daytime television. I wonder if that's why libraries were forced to expand into stocking CDs and DVDs?
We need libraries to stock books so people can take their own education into their own hands. An educated population would keep its government in check, and they do work for us after all...
Jan E commented
Surely if we can save forests we can save one their products, BOOKS!
Nick O commented
As regards Emily`s remark about Clegg describing libraries as `elitist`, he`s no stranger to eltism himself. I would think he`s nervous that the voters of Sheffield might want rid of him, and is making a misguided attempt to seem like a normal person and not a politician.
As regards Mike`s `volunteers` remark, that might work in the south, but not elsewhere.
I live in a traditional manufacturing area - compared to other areas, an unusually high number of people here work shifts and/or make long journeys to work and/or work away from home for days on end. Most people of my age have families and, sadly, amongst the elderly there is a higher than usual level of industrial illness.
I really don`t think volunteering is an option round here.As the collapse of Labour support in this area has made it a marginal constituency now, politicians might want to think carefully before suggesting schemes that make them seem out of touch.
Mike Crew commented
I agree that libraries should be ring fenced as long as the they are outside of the fence. If the purpose is education then they should be school based. Almost all reference info is more readily available on computer than in book from which by its very nature is out of date before it is printed. If the purpose is the reading of fiction I see no reason why this specific activity should be funded by local or central govt. Most charity shops send for pulping 100's of books each week. If libraries should exist at all they should be run by volunteers.
Charles Mossman commented
Lets go back to Victorian times. Then a big benefactor Carnegie came along and funded free libraries - Is that what the Government wants in its Big Society ?
I had to laugh at Clegg's remark about libraries being "elitest" and should be closed on that basis. The guy seems to have a problem with people getting education. Libraries are essential for many people, espeacially those with young children who can't afford to keep buying books and for the elderly. I used libraries on a regular basis while at college - sadly, they have degenerated since then. Libraries should have more investment, and not less. And of course, if you want to argue eliteism then Blackwells surely is when the majority of their science textbooks are £30 or more each!