I suggest a campaign about ...

Prevent the closure of public libraries

Libraries offer computer access to the poor, give access to books to those unable to afford them, and provide education for all, regardless of social status.

They are inclusive of all, not just the 'white middle class'. They provide ways to learn about other cultures as well as our own, promoting understanding of foreign ways of life. They enable people to learn about subjects they may not have had the oppurtunity to study in the past. They provide a quiet place to study and read. They allow people to see the world in new ways.

Knowledge is power!

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    SAHSAH shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

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      • Nick ONick O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yes indeed. Reggie would I`m sure be only too happy for his likeness to be used in this way. There are five pictures in all. Feel free to take them off the blog, or I can e-mail them if you prefer.

        As an added bonus, I`ll give the events a plug online, I don`t suppose it will make much difference but it would be nice to mark Reggie`s new-found status.

        Fortunately he seemed a level-headed lad and is unlikely to adopt a celebrity hedgehog lifestyle !

      • JeannieJeannie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Nick O - We are having two sessions of Stories for Children in Woodbridge library in August (2nd at 3pm and 30th at 11am) - is it okay to show one or two photos of your baby hedgehog (Reggie) to the children to illustrate stories I've written? Let's keep our libraries open, alive and different !

      • Nick ONick O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think this thread has probably died a natural death, but in case anyone`s still looking at it, for an international flavour you may be interested in `Mr Kennedy Goes to the Library` and `Libraries and Democracy`, both of which appear at http://webdub.blogspot.com .

        This might be a good time to mention that after a long period of inactivity, The Library Campaign ( www.librarycampaign.com ) has now been relaunched.

      • Nick ONick O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As regards `community-based solutions` and volunteer-run libraries, there is an aspect that no-one seems to have mentioned (as far as I know). I don`t doubt that in some areas - probably areas with a high proporton of retired people with administrative skills - there are people who would be only too happy to offer their time and expertise.

        I just wonder how these eager volunteers will react when things are not running so smoothly.

        In my experience, if there`s a problem relating to really thorny issues - say, an allegation of dishonesty or of seriously bad behaviour - volunteers just don`t want to know, particularly if there are complaints aganst individuals they themselves know personally.

        I`d be very interested to know how advocates of volunteer-run libraries feel these sort of issues should be dealt with.


      • Nick ONick O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi John,

        Good to hear from you again.

        I had difficulty following parts of your comment - it`s been a big day and I`m not at my sharpest ! I think I`ve got the general picture.

        Would it be worth posting a comment on the Save North Yorks libraries site ? I`d gladly do it, but I wonder if would be better coming from someone who lives in the area, partic as you seem to have a good knowledge of the issues ?

      • John DeanJohn Dean commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        North Yorkshire County Councillors hold their Libraries Vote 14th June 2011.Some provincial newspapers have reported this event, which follows the publication only last week of the County Librarian Julie Blaisdale.

        The report is full of tributes to the campaigns which ran in North Yorkshire-even includes figures for those petitions which were handed in before the Consultation closed in early spring. I do not think the one with which I was associated in the Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside areas with over 700 signatures from a community including outlying areas was taken on board.
        In one sense this is understandable, as it was not submitted by the deadline. But some in NYCC employ had conveyed the idea that petitions were to be treated as one Consultation Form i.e. they were just like the
        old rebel 'round robin'-irresponsible and not worth acting on..

        But there ard only vague indications of the imminent disaster hanging over the service over which Ms Blaisdale presides.

        Instead of dividing the libraries into 3 groups, her report has now added a 3rd group-those which are in the more isolated areas.
        These- especially with the withdrawal of a meaningful mobile service- will be bereft of proper library input. Vague-not to say pathetic- references are made to 'community solutions' i.e. a pub in William Hague's constituency with a book case or the situation at Hawes, which was not the brainchild of the NYCC Library service..

        Equally, there are the references to 'talking with Community groups' which have been made since the Consulation Process began. In many places I know of these talks are at still not substantive in any meaningful sense but the platitudes around 'talking with' may well lull the public into optimism.

        You, the reader of this, can mobilise or support friends around North Yorkshire.to ensure that very member of North Yorkshire County Council
        is made aware of the need to examine this report very critically before they vote on a purely party basis.

      • Nick ONick O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Some more articles of interest ;

        Joe Willis - Reprieve for Libraries After Public Outcry, 1 June at www.thenorthernecho.co.uk

        (Worth noting the small print here, this article on Save North Yorks Libraries does concede that 8 libraries in the area still face an uncertain future.)

        Unsigned - Closing This Library is not OK in Our Book, 28 May at www.theboltonnews.co.uk

        and, continuing my practise of always ending on a positive note ;

        Janet Allison - Join Library and Save It !, 28 May at www.theboltonnews.co.uk

      • Nick ONick O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Reggie returned to the wild after a spell in a wildlife sanctuary while he recuperated from the slings and arrows of hedgehog misfortune, but I like to think he supports his local library.

        He seemed a pregressive-minded hedgehog and would certainly approve of our campaigning !

      • Nick ONick O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I tried to post something here earlier today, but the system was playing up.

        I agree with Jeannie that it would help if we all went out of our way to use the library.

        It would seem 15,000 people in Bolton also agree ;

        Unsigned article - 15,000 Join Fight to Save Libraries, 21 May at www.theboltonnews.co.uk .

        It`s a shame that 38 Degrees have never seen fit to take this issue up, but at least we have this excellent forum to share news and views. I also post a few things at http://angpav.blogspot.com, though with two young children and a business to run, it`s a bit of an uphill struggle lately. There are some cool pictures of Reggie the Hedgehog though.

      • JeannieJeannie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Our library has 3 self-service machines, they release the staff for other duties, which can be time consuming. I run one group and am planning two Children's Storytelling sessions over the summer. The staff are not allowed to run things like that anymore. Eventually the Council is going to say "Oh, you have that many staff, well what do you all do?" It's a No Win situation. Keep on using the library and show we care and need the staff.

      • Nick ONick O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Funny old world. No sooner do I mention The Bookseller (see below) than an article in that publication sparks controversy ( see `Coalition Government is Anti Book` 13 May at http://alangibbons.net ). I visited www.thebookseller.com in search of the article, but couldn`t find it - or maybe i was too impatient to persevere !

        Without seeing the original, it`s difficult to comment, my only concern is that if it really is just a question of knocking the Coalition just to promote people like Blair and Brown, that`s pretty narrow and superficial.

        .

      • Nick ONick O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I don`t know how it happened, but a decent article`s appeared in The Guardian - `Library Closure Battles Won, But War Continues` by Benedicte Page, posted 10 May 2011 in the Books Blog.

        Benedicte Page is normally to be found contributing to The Bookseller, where she`s penned many articles opposing library closures. Essentially, she makes the same point as Jeannie, that there`s a need to keep fighting.

        As a matter of interest, my great grandfather was one of those who pushed for the provision of a public library in Long Eaton, a manufacturing town on the Notts/Derbyshire border at the dawn of the C20th. The way I see it, people had to fight to get libraries and it won`t worry me if we have to fight to keep them !

      • JeannieJeannie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yes, libraries are not safe yet. They have to lose 30% of their budget so whether that's community/county libraries, they will do it. Our library is also having to ask groups to run their own activities (play reading/story telling/poetry/book clubs etc etc) - that's just the beginning. We must keep on fighting !

      • Nick ONick O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Thanks for that.

        Like Kerry Dunning (see below), I find that my local library is also going self-service. It causes me some concern as the library, situated in an area with it`s share of troubles, plays host to a variety of events, often daytime events - storytelling and such - aimed at parents and children. These events seem to be organised by staff acting on their own initiative and obviously they rely on their colleagues running the library while they do so . I really believe these events benefit the community and also help the library by bringing in new users.

        If staff numbers are reduced, as I presume they will be, presumably such events will become less and less frequent. Once the library stops being integrated into the community in this way, will levels of library use decline ?

        I don`t want to end on a down note, so perhaps I could mention a few articles that should give us some encouragement ;

        Joe Willis - Public Outcry Forces North Yorkshire County Council to Reconsider Library Plans - 5 May 2011 at www.thenorthernecho.co.uk .

        Alan Gibbons - Now North Yorkshire Reconsiders - 5 May 2011 at http://alangibbons.net .

        Additional comment to be found at http://ny-libraries.org .

      • durgamatadurgamata commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Did you see this - 'started by 13 year old Joe Miller from Birmingham - for details see Alan Gibbons` article `Sign Joe`s Petition`, 11 April 2011 at http://alangibbons.net . Cheers.'
        I like this quote best -

        “The UK is twenty fifth in international reading comparisons. South Korea is top. The UK is threatening to withdraw funding from over 500 libraries. South Korea is building 180. ‘Nuff said.”

      • durgamatadurgamata commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        There are some towns like Newmarket which only have one library so if it closes (as is proposed) there is no alternative. Others such as in Heartford are planning to reduce opening times - cutting out morning opening which is when jobseekers go to read the papers and apply for jobs. Crazy. The library is the natural centre for a community. It offers rooms for meetings and many other facilities including reading and computer access at a time of big redundancies which mean they will be needed more and more.

      • durgamatadurgamata commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        There are some towns like Newmarket which only have one library so if it closes (as is proposed) there is no alternative. Others such as in Heartford are planning to reduce opening times - cutting out morning opening which is when jobseekers go to read the papers and apply for jobs. Crazy. The library is the natural centre for a community. It offers rooms for meetings and many other facilities including reading and computer access at a time of big redundancies which mean they will be needed more and more.

      • Fergus KinmonthFergus Kinmonth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Knowledge is power, and accessability of knowledge is paramount. We disempower ourselves as a nation by allowing this foolish economic measure.

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