Voices for the Library at Hay Festival

Just a brief update for those who don’t already know that Voices for the Library are down at the Hay Festival at the moment, promoting the value of public libraries, asking people to pledge their support to libraries and helping people set up local campaign groups and challenge cuts and closures in their area.

We’ve got a brilliant collection of stories from people young and old, about why they love their particular library, why they think libraries are important to society and what libraries mean to them. These stories will be added to our site when we get home, and will then be used in talks that the Voices team give at conferences and public events, and in publicity material to show just how much people value their libraries and why National Libraries Week is going to be such a vibrant and far-reaching series of events next February.

Here are some photos of what we’ve been up to so far, and some of our favourite stories. More photos are in the Voices for the Library flickr pool.

Ellis, 4, is learning to write. He told us that he loves going to his library and can't imagine why the council want to close it.

Mavis works at a primary school, where on registration day she gives out membership forms to the local public library too. She told us that parents and grandparents queue up to join, as well as the children. Keira, 9, told us that she loves her library because instead of spending all her pocket money on books, she can go to the library and get them for free!

Roland, 83, told us that his wife Joan uses three of Epsom's public libraries several times a week. They are under threat of closure, which he thinks is a disgrace.

“As an only child in a farmhouse with no books but the Bible and the ‘Hereford Times’, the mobile library changed my life. I was the first person ever to get a degree in my family.” Suzy Davies

“I met my husband in a library. My parents, children and grandchildren have all enjoyed and made good use of libraries. Libraries are an incomparable source of information, knowledge and inspiration. Let’s keep it that way!” William & Beryl

“Libraries offer access to books for everyone – as  primary school teacher I think it’s a tragedy and a disgrace that they are under threat. Books offer education, information, enjoyment and escapism and should not be denied to any child, irrelevant of where they live or who they are.” Ruth Blayney

“Walking into the library is like walking into a sweetshop…but so much better! A thousand different worlds ready & waiting for me to pick them up and travel into them, for free!!!”

“LIBRARIES GAVE US POWER. Stories are a way of putting things into boxes so that we can better understand (nicked from Patrick Ness).” Jayne

“My library is very important. You should keep them because they are where people go to borrow books, rent dvds and study. Keep them open. They mean SO much to people.” Maya, age 10.

“Libraries = access to the world.”

“Each of my four children have got a library ticket on the day of their six week check. We have to fight to save our libraries.” Lu O’Shea