You may have noticed that we recently added a map highlighting cuts and campaigns for UK public libraries to the site. This idea originally came about when we were looking at cuts in Leeds Libraries. At that time we began putting together a map that displayed library use and unemployment figures, as a simple way to compare libraries in Leeds. (NB: Figures on the Leeds map were only a starting point for our findings with Leeds Libraries.)
Following on from this, it was felt that some kind of national cuts map would be useful, to highlight their extent in a visual way. We then discovered that Ian Anstice (Public Libraries News) was already putting together a map and, as we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, we asked if we could collaborate with him. We are now working on this together – sharing the load and adding details as we come across them. We’re also adding links to local campaigns and consultations on the map, as well as adding them to our site. Having a map with markers scattered across so many parts of the country quickly highlights the severe cuts planned for library services, but at the same time helps to identify those campaigners who are trying to save libraries as well.
There are many groups and individuals defending UK public libraries, whether it’s emphasising their value, the importance of trained staff and providing positive information about libraries nationally like Voices for the Library; other national campaigns like the Campaign For The Book and The Library Campaign; local library campaigns like Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries and Save Doncaster Libraries; sites providing details of library cuts (Public Libraries News) and those highlighting cuts/campaigns as part of the broader national situation (False Economy). There are also many other discussions going on in isolation from these campaigns. Whenever one person mentions in passing to someone else, or tweets, or writes an article about the fact that our libraries are under threat, they may reach one new person who didn’t previously know or wasn’t concerned about the issue. It all helps raise awareness and build support for libraries.
We’d like to link all these people/groups/campaigns together to save libraries and invite everyone who wants to get their message across to let us know what you’re doing so we can put you in touch with other camapigners. Together, we will show the number of voices that are prepared to stand up and say “UK public libraries are important and essential – and we won’t let you destroy them.”