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Authors including Cathy Cassidy and Philip Ardagh have joined librarians lobbying MPs to protect the service from cuts that have seen 441 branches closed since 2010.
Writers & illustrators supporting libraries including John Dougherty, Philip Ardagh and Jake Arnott and Sarah McIntyre. Photograph: @jabberworks/Twitter
At a packed hall in Westminster, flanked with colourful handmade banners with “save our libraries” slogans, bestselling authors including children’s authors Alan Gibbons, Cathy Cassidy, and Philip Ardagh joined the Speak Up for Libraries campaign, Librarians and supporters from across the UK to urge MPs to focus on what they see as the root cause of the decline in libraries – the “apathy and ignorance” in local and central government.
Residents in Lambeth, London, protest against library closures. Photograph: David Rowe/Demotix/Corbis
As Alison Flood reports in her recent article in The Guardian, “Shaking off their traditional reputation as lovers of peace and quiet, librarians are preparing to take a loud battle for Britain’s libraries to the door of the culture secretary.”
She reports that the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip) is challenging the government over its “failure to carry out their legal duty to the public” and keep branches open using the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act (stating that the public has a statutory right to a quality public library service.)
“We’ve had enough. We’ve marked our line in the sand here. The government is behaving as if it doesn’t have a duty of care and they do, under the law. We think it’s time to be clear about what that means,” said Nick Poole, the chief executive of Cilip. More than 100 library branches were shut last year, and further branches up and down the UK face closure.