Tuesday, 29 March 2016

HAZEL: SAVE OUR LIBRARIES!

Reader Hazel was upset to learn that her local library is under threat of closure... find out how YOU can help her to save it...

Hazel says:
To say my local libraries have played an important part in my life is a slight understatement. I had my first library card at just over two weeks old, and when we moved to California temporarily in 2014, I had a new library card within 24 hours of landing on American soil. I have never been without a well used library card, and go to one library or another every few weeks to stock up on new books. Sadly, there are now plans to close eight out of nine of our local libraries in West Berkshire, and also to discontinue the two mobile libraries. Not only that, they plan to cut some children's centres, the Domestic Abuse Response Team, and the Community Furniture Project. The government has cut 44% of our revenue support grant and that means we have to save nearly £19 million. Libraries are not life-saving services - not in an obvious way anyway - but  I do not believe that closing eight libraries is the right choice.

These cutbacks could be the ruination of libraries in this country. One library for 155,000 people is just not enough. There must be other ways to do this, creative solutions... we must look into everything before the libraries close their doors for good. Libraries play a fundamental role in every community, hosting events and classes, arts and crafts fairs, toddler story time, continued adult learning and internet access amongst other things. Libraries can inspire young people and help them decide what they want to be in life. In my own experience, I have picked up new hobbies and found new interests thanks to things I have seen or found at my local library. Some people say everything is turning to ebooks and that library closures do not matter, but what about children? They need time to browse slowly, to hold different books in their hands as they make their own decisions about what they want to read. They need the chance to pore over every page, to have a wide range of books to explore as their reading levels increase and their interests widen.

In the UK we need to increase literacy rates - and libraries offer the opportunity to explore and learn for free. Young children and the elderly and unemployed do not have access to a school library - and some schools do not have libraries at all. Perhaps we cannot keep every library open, but we must surely do everything in our power to save this amazing community resource. Most of the books I have read in my life have been library books. I have discovered so many amazing authors who've enriched my life, changed how I see things in the world, made me laugh, made me learn. I would hate to rob future generations of the same opportunities.

There is a petition to save Berkshire's libraries... if you can take time to sign the petition, it would be SO appreciated. You can sign the PETITION HERE... and ask your friends and family to sign too.

Cathy says:
You can see Hazel in THIS SLIDESHOW from eighteen months ago, helping to support Liverpool libraries... she's at 1 minute 19 seconds in. Hazel supported me with that fight, and I will support her with Berkshire libraries... will YOU? Please COMMENT BELOW to show Hazel some support and sign that petition if you possibly can!

2 comments:

  1. Hazel, Cathy, and EVERYONE involved in your Campaign.
    Just when you thought it was safe to poke your nose outdoors after moving halfway across the world (well, nearly) ... Liverpool comes back to bit you on the @ss!
    I got your campaign flagged on my Inbox this evening (five minutes ago) and I simply HAD to respond immediately.
    Our paths undoubtedly crossed several times during the protests organised throughout Liverpool about proposed Library closures last year. We got a 'sort of' result locally, as the proposed closures haven't (YET!!) been implemented. Our Mayor, Joe Anderson, has worked wonders with an impossible budget (and made a lot of enemies in the process) but I believe his heart is in the right place and somehow we'll find a solution. I hope this is of some comfort to you, Hazel: all your work was NOT wasted - at least, not yet!
    I have a vested interest in preserving our Libraries: I'm just starting to establish myself as a Local Author, with a few books published and selling (one of them a childrens' book, the first in a planned series).
    I have some contacts in the US, a group of writers I chat with regularly over the Internet. I'll be speaking to them later tonight (in about 30 mins from NOW). With your permission, I'd like to forward them the details of your Campaign - alternatively, you're welcome to log in as a Guest Wednesday (20:00 EST) or Sunday (19:00 EST) and tell us all about it yourself. I won't forward the info WITHOUT your permission. Let me know if I can be of any assistance tonight, this week, or at some time in the future: Libraries are TOO IMPORTANT an asset to lose!
    The writers I mentioned can be found at: www.thewriterschatroom.com
    Best Wishes,
    Paul McDermott

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  2. I've signed it! I'm writing this in my local library. I signed it because I couldn't bear with mine closing even though I'm in Scotland!! Freya

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