Friday, 10 December 2010

Writers condemn library 'vandalism'

Children's writer Alan Gibbons, founder of The Campaign for the Book, has hit out at culture minister Ed Vaizey for failing to do in government what he argued for in opposition. In an open letter signed by authors such as Philip Pullman and Carol Ann Duffy, Gibbons has called on the Government to "prevent councils inflicting cuts which amount to cultural vandalism".

Gibbons said Vaizey had previously called on the then secretary of state Andy Burnham "to intervene when library provision is slashed in a local authority such as the Wirral".

Library services have been put under threat as local councils work to meet their lower budgets following the Comprehensive Spending Review. At least 25 local authorities have announced new proposals for cost-cutting to their library services since the October review, with fresh details emerging almost every day. Protests are being mounted against these cuts and others to public services where the poorest and the sick in society seem to suffering the brunt of it.

Gibbons, who has organised a long-running campaign to support the library service and reading for pleasure, called the scale of the library closures around the country 'appalling and unjustifiable.' He asked: 'Do we have a problem of ultra-literacy? Does our population suffer from a surfeit of reading? We call upon the DCMS to fulfil its obligations and safeguard a 'comprehensive and efficient' service as enshrined in the 1964 Libraries and Museums Act.'
Kathy Lette warned: 'Closing our libraries will make us a nation of numbskulls – the Illiterati.'

Authors warn Vaizey to act over library 'vandalism':

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