2.06.2011

save our libraries day in the u.k.

Yesterday was Save Our Libraries Day in the UK: a massive national call to action to protest government austerity plans calling for the closure of 450 libraries, by demonstrating how much libraries mean to their communities.

The Guardian live-blogged the event, and has this interactive map of the UK showing where protests were held. There were read-ins, author appearances, massive book-borrowing, pickets, letter-writing campaigns, and all manner of creative protests.

These closures will devastate communities, while the crooks who caused the financial crisis continue to give themselves seven-digit bonuses.

14 comments:

James said...

Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials series, had a few things to say about culling libraries.

laura k said...

Thanks for posting that, James. Pullman has been speaking out early and often. I quoted an Op-Ed he wrote in a final paper last term, which I posted here:

Those who think that every expert can be replaced by a cheerful volunteer who can step in and do a complex task for nothing but a cup of tea are those who fundamentally want to see every single public service sold off, closed down, abolished. . . . [T]he delusion that has gripped every politician in the western world for 30 years or so now is that when you lower taxes, the commercial world will take care of everything. The destruction of the library service is part of a wider malaise.

johngoldfine said...

Towns and villages in the UK still often have a genuine life--places tiny to my USAian eyes manage to support a pub, a store with post office, a bakery, a church, and a library. Of course, the deluge is coming, shop windows become empty, roads are improved so that people can have more 'choices' at regional towns...and libraries close because they only offer only a computer terminal or two, crappy novels for old folks wanting a read, some research material for school kids, and a story hour.

Much better to centralize library services a half hour away by car!

laura k said...

So much is being written and said these days about the demise of the local pub in the UK. I can see the pub and the library as linked, in a way, each centres of community life in their own way.

johngoldfine said...

Nothing sadder than a shuttered pub, but I haven't seen a shuttered library yet.

James said...

Maybe it's time to combine the two: the pubrary!

If bookstores can have cafes, why can't pubs have libraries?

laura k said...

If bookstores can have cafes, why can't pubs have libraries?

My new dream job! Head librarian in a pubruary!

Several wine bars have done it, in NYC and elsewhere. This one in the UK is listed as a pub, but calls itself The Old Library Wine Bar.

I wonder if it's a pub where a library used to be.

laura k said...

pubruary

Ha, I spelled mine combining pub with February. "Pubrary" is better, I want to work all year. :)

johngoldfine said...

Laura K--if you're going to combine, consider adding a dog playground to your Pubrary.

The better sort of pub welcomes dogs (and I've met some wicked cute dogs in pubs) and no one has ever objected to my nursing a pint of cask ale over a few chapters of a book.

laura k said...

Oh absolutely! The Pubuary will be very dog-friendly.

In Ireland, we also saw many lovely border collies hanging out while their person had a pint. It was one of the nicest parts of the Irish pubs - and that is really saying something.

laura k said...

I do have trouble spelling today!

Pubrary. No U.

johngoldfine said...

I'm coming around to 'pubuary' myself and, y'know, an accident repeated so often may have significance! Or how about 'pub-u-ary'? The 'u' being a meaningless but friendly-sounding connector.

Pleasant to kid about it; very unpleasant to think of our increasing circumscribed and pinched view of the common good and its requirements.

laura k said...

Yes indeed. It is very sad.

impudent strumpet said...

I would totally spend all my free time at a dog-pub-library! Someone needs to get one of those libraries that they want to privatize and start one up! (And that solves the question of revenue too - apparently drinks are high-profit.)