On Saturday around 3,000 library, museums and galleries staff, supporters and campaigners, including many authors, and a few politicians from around the country met at The British Library for a rally and march to The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square in opposition to cuts in these sectors. It was great to see so many supporters gathered at an event to show how much they cared about these services. The march began and ended with passionate speeches from people such as Lord John Bird, authors Michael Rosen and Philip Ardagh, as well as campaigners from areas affected by the cuts that have been steadily ongoing around the country for the past 5 years. As we marched along Euston Road, onto The British Museum and down to The National Gallery holding the Speak Up For Libraries banner along with other library workers, the support we and the other few thousand marchers received from drivers and passers-by was more than appreciated.
Earlier this month librarian Tim Parkin was interviewed on Talk Radio Europe discussing library cuts in the UK. The full interview can be listened to below.
As Tim in his interview rightly says “…a cut of £1,000,000 from a service is never going to leave it better. It will always leave it worse.”
Voices for the Library representatives will be joining other members of the Speak Up For Libraries coalition at the lobby of Parliament for libraries on 9th February 2016 at Central Hall Westminster.
This lobby of Parliament is open for all to attend, whether you are a library user, library campaigner, or a library worker – anyone who supports public libraries.
Full details of the lobby can be found on the Speak Up For Libraries site, along with details of how you can book a free place.
Join us, and show your support for public libraries on 9th February.
We welcome CILIP’s recently launched campaign, My Library By Right, which champions the call for access to quality public library services, including:
- The public’s rights to libraries to be recognised and respected
- Public libraries to be treated as the statutory services they are
- The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to carry out their legal duties under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act
- Statutory guidance for local authorities on their duties under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act from DCMS, with support from CILIP and the library and information profession
The campaign has also resulted in a petition to MP John Whittingdale (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport), which we would encourage everyone to sign.
CILIP have also suggested showing your support for the campaign in the following ways:
- Tweet your support: I’m standing up for our right to libraries #MyLibraryByRight
- Download the poster
- Download the logo to share on social media
- Show your support on National Libraries Day, 6 February
Full details of the campaign can be found here.
Tomorrow is National Libraries Day. A day of celebrating and showing your support for all types of libraries in the UK. Around the country many libraries and their supporters are sharing the library love in a variety of ways, including read-ins, craft sessions, author visits to libraries, story times, service promotion events and taster sessions, and promotional campaigns on social media. The hashtag on Twitter is #NLD15.
Unfortunately many library services are facing cuts again – yes, it seems never-ending – and library supporters around the country are also showing their support with rallies and protest events. On a day like National Libraries Day it is the perfect opportunity to get their voices heard. In fact, National Libraries Day originally started out as Save Our Libraries Day in 2011, and as well as celebrating libraries on this day, it is also important to challenge the cuts and closures facing libraries. It’s probably the biggest day of the year for the media to take an interest in libraries in the UK.
Members of the Voices for the Library team are going to be taking part in their own ways.
As part of the friends group Jo has been involved in organising a fun event at Bristol Central Library, and will be there supporting it.
Ian Anstice is supporting a National Libraries Day craft event run by his library service and will be helping out with promotion on social media.
Gary is also helping with his library service social media and getting out and about to promote libraries via the Library A to Z.
Ian Clark, Lauren and Tom are all visiting libraries in their areas and making use of the services and resources on offer. Don’t forget that every extra visit to a library and use of its services helps increase the CIPFA statistics, a key indicator of how valued libraries are.
So, you can see that supporting libraries on National Libraries Day is something that you can do in whatever way you want and whatever way suits you – it doesn’t matter how you show your support on National Libraries Day, but it is important that you do.
Musician One Man and His Beard, who performed at the Speak Up For Libraries lobby in 2012 is looking for library lovers to contribute to his We Need Libraries video for release on National Libraries Day 2014. What he’s after is photos of you holding your library card.
Send your photos to him at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5th January 2014.
We think it’s a great idea and we will be sending ours.
We were very pleased to hear that Lambeth library supporters recently adopted the Voices for the Library public libraries manifesto formulated in consultation with library supporters.
Alongside the manifesto they are encouraging Lambeth residents to ask their local politicians to support the manifesto and pledge that they agree to the following when standing for election in May 2014:
• A commitment to increase book stock to at least the average amount of books of other London authorities – Lambeth Libraries have only 50% of the average London borough book stock
• A commitment to increase staffing to at least the average amount of staff of other London authorities – Lambeth Libraries are proposing to reduce the staffing levels to the lowest in London
• A commitment to increase public IT access to at least the average amount of other London authorities – Lambeth Libraries have only 50% of the average London borough public IT provision
• A commitment to keep all nine public libraries open with no cuts to opening hours
For more information contact: Lambeth Manifesto for Libraries c/o Lambeth UNISON 6a Acre Lane SW2 5SG, email@example.com
As part of the Speak Up For Libraries coalition, Voices For The Library are pleased to announce that authors Philip Ardagh and Bali Rai will be joining the line up at the Speak Up For Libraries conference in London on Saturday 10 November 2012 to champion public library services and library staff. The day-long event will pull together library campaigners and supporters from across the UK and give them the opportunity to build on their existing campaigning skills and tactics, share ideas and strategies, and focus on a way forward to make their local campaign as effective as possible, with the goal of ensuring library services are supported, protected and preserved now and in the future.
As well as providing an update on the state of the UK library service and the extensive work undertaken by campaigners across the UK to protect libraries in the past twelve months, there will be a range of sessions exploring a variety of topics from the law and legal challenges, volunteers, alternative forms of governance including privatisation and outsourcing, influencing decision-makers, and how best to utilise local support in a community to protect services under threat.
Further details of the conference and booking details can be found on the Speak Up For Libraries site.
The Speak Up For Libraries coalition is made up of individual library campaigners Elizabeth Ash and Mar Dixon, Campaign for the Book, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), The Library Campaign, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), UNISON, and Voices for the Library.
We have been asked by Geoffrey Dron of Save Bolton Libraries Campaign to publish the following, regarding intervention requests made to the DCMS by library campaigners and the lack of response to these requests. Geoffrey asks campaigners to contact him if they feel joint complaints ought to be made on behalf of the affected groups to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Please read his full request below for further details.
Many groups protesting against the closure of libraries in their respective areas will have lodged requests with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for intervention under its statutory duties and powers by, in particular, directing the holding of an inquiry into the library authorities’ proposals, in many cases executed in the time which has elapsed since the requests were lodged.
By way of example, Save Bolton Libraries Campaign and Bolton and District Civic Trust lodged their requests, which relate to the closure of five of Bolton Council’s libraries, by 1st February 2012. In spite of reminders and a letter from the MP for Bolton NE, the DCMS has taken no action in relation to the requests other than seeking further information from the Council, which the latter supplied in February. The Council’s proposals have been implemented.
It is thought that other groups have been faced with similar inaction on the part of the DCMS. Indeed, its website reveals that in only one case (Brent) has the DCMS even gone so far as to issue a letter indicating a provisional view (in that case that it is minded not to intervene) but inviting further representations. It is becoming difficult to escape the conclusion that the DCMS has adopted a policy of inaction in the hope that library user groups will get fed up and go away.
Whether attributable to deliberate policy or incompetence, the delay by the DCMS in dealing with the requests, even allowing for the engagement of Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State, in matters such as the Olympics and the Leveson Inquiry, has reached the point where action to compel it to express its views in ‘minded to’ form is required. There is a strong case for suggesting that joint complaints ought to be made on behalf of the affected groups to the Parliamentary Ombudsman alleging maladministration in relation to the failure to deal with the requests in a timely manner. Such complaints, which require endorsement by local MPs and ought to be preceded by advance notification giving a relatively short period to deal with the requests, ought to be lodged with attendant publicity and before the Olympics.
Representatives of groups whose requests for intervention are currently imprisoned in the limbo of the DCMS are asked to contact Geoffrey Dron of Save Bolton Libraries Campaign (firstname.lastname@example.org) if they consider the approach suggested might have merit. It is hoped to start a discussion on how to move matters forward. Consideration might be given to a meeting of representatives at a mutually convenient venue, but the first step is probably to find out what the overall appetite is for complaints of maladministration.
In reference to the above request we have received the attached letter as follow up to Jeremy Hunt from Save Bolton Libraries Campaign, which we have been asked to publish here.
A rally and lobby of Parliament will take place tomorrow (Tuesday 13 March) in Westminster to highlight the value of public libraries and the important role they play. The event aims to persuade MPs to take action to protect public library services during these times of public sector cuts. Anybody who supports public libraries is welcome to attend.
The rally will take place from 12 noon, at Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate Westminster, London SW1H 9NH. The lobby of Parliament will start at 2.30pm. Prior to the rally and lobby, Ed Vaizey’s evidence session for the Inquiry into library closures will be screened live from 10.30am in Central Hall Westminster.
The lobby has been organised by the Speak Up For Libraries coalition, an alliance of organisations and campaigners working to protect libraries and library staff. Voices For The Library are part of this coalition.
Since forming Voices For The Library, we have constantly had to defend public libraries against those in power who do not seem to understand their value. We’ve seen local campaigns emerge throughout the country in response to these cuts – campaigners fighting for their own local libraries against authorities who do not understand the purpose of libraries, and do not understand how libraries and trained library staff benefit library users, the local community, local economy and the UK as a whole. Many of these campaigners have been put into a position where they are effectively acting as superintendent to their own library service, despite this being the responsibility of Jeremy Hunt & Ed Vaizey. Local authorities have not listened to local campaigners concerns. Neither have Jeremy Hunt, Ed Vaizey or the DCMS. So now, as part of Speak Up For Libraries, we must take this to Parliament to ask MP’s to make a stand and help protect the future of the nation’s threatened public libraries.
We feel it’s important to attend tomorrow to show those who dismiss public libraries as irrelevant just how important they are and why they are essential. We would urge you to attend if you can – the more people there are there, the louder our voices will be and the clearer the message will be that we will continue to fight and Speak Up For Libraries. If you are coming please sign up on the Speak Up For Libraries site.
However, if you can’t attend, you can still show your support by doing the following:
- Email or write to your MP asking them to support libraries.
- Let others know about it.
- Distribute event flyers.
- Encourage your MP to sign the Early Day Motion in support of libraries .
- Follow Speak Up For Libraries on Facebook.
- Follow @SpeakUp4Libs on Twitter & tweet using the
#librarieslobby hashtag, especially during the rally and lobby.