Posted on January 26, 2011 - by MG
It’s all over the Internet and the news – to save money, local governments plan to close down some libraries. In Oxfordshire, 20 of 43 local libraries are threatened with closure. The communities are protesting, demonstrating, writing letters. This is the moment to persuade the county councils to change their minds!
I’m involved with the Save the Kennington Library Campaign. I’ve written before about this lovely village library and the Kennington Free Literary Festival that the community organises to support their library.
Local primary school children who use the Kennington Library have written letters to Cllr Keith Mitchell, who leads the Oxfordshire County Council. The Save the Library campaigners have written to Cllr Mitchell and to local MP, Nicola Blackwood, inviting them both to tea with the kids on February 7th, and to receive the letters of petition.
I’ll be joining with Korky Paul, an Oxford neighbour and illustrator of many wonderful children’s books (including Winnie the Witch), to read to the Kennington children.
Local media have also been invited to record the event. We’re very much hoping that Cllr Mitchell will turn up!
Here’s an excerpt of a letter I wrote to both.
The Government proposes to radically overhaul education, which I support. In that instance, it isn’t proposing to close schools and let natural selection take over! Libraries deserve the same, albeit on a smaller scale.
Please – consult with stakeholders, ask for proposals and bring in examples of best practice.
Don’t just cut a hole in the heart of the community. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because some people don’t personally use a service, they don’t have an interest in its existence. Where would we be if we took that approach with every publicly-funded institution?
Libraries and civilisation go hand in hand. What do we rightly regard with horror as one of the existential crises in Western civilisation? The burning of the Library of Alexandria!
Please use your influence and act to serve the community who elected you.
Please show that this matters to you!
I’m involved in the Campaign to Save the Kennington Library. This is a perfect example of a local library that should be supported. It is the Big Society in action. The community run a Free Literary Festival (see attached article from The Oxford Times), which raises awareness and funds for the Kennington Library. The library is used regularly by local primary schools, in effect providing an extension of their own library provision. Without that library people for whom mobility is an issue will have difficulty getting to town.
So…roll on February 7th…! I will post a report from the event, right here on the blog.
UPDATE: To see how it all turned out, see Save the Libraries – Kennington (Part 2 of 2)