Librarians and library users raise their Voices For Libraries
A group of dedicated librarians and information professionals have set up Voices for the Library, a campaigning website to share positive stories from public libraries and librarians, provide factual information about library usage in the UK and draw together the fragmented responses to the many attacks on UK public library services. It is high time for library professionals to be the voices for libraries. This campaign is an opportunity for people to discuss why libraries and librarians are so important, and why it is vital that they are run well and serve their communities effectively.
Libraries have recently had a high profile in the media, as a result of the threat of drastic cuts to library services across the UK. It is surprising that the majority of people speaking in the media about the future of libraries are not library users or library professionals and do not have the necessary knowledge and understanding of what libraries are for and the value they have. This site provides spokespeople for the media with a range of professional expertise.
We are looking for contributions from the public who use libraries, the libraries themselves, librarians, and other library staff. We want them to give us their stories about what libraries and the excellent staff working in libraries have done for them. We are also looking for contributions of statistics and data that accurately demonstrate the impact and use of public library services.
Only through these stories and with this information can the real voices of libraries be heard. These are the voices of the people who use and love libraries, and the voices of the profession who serve UK citizens by providing public library services: local gateways to knowledge, providing a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision-making and cultural development of individuals and social groups.
Voices for the Library are not willing to allow cuts to libraries to slip by without public outcry. This is an opportunity for people who know how important libraries are to make their voices heard.
Information about Voices for the Library:
The campaign was set up in August 2010 with the following aims:
1. Share positive stories from public libraries and librarians.
2. Provide factual information about library usage in the UK.
3. Provide spokespeople for the media with a range of professional expertise.
Notes for Editors:
Site: http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk. An ‘About’ page provides information about the team of professionals behind the campaign and site.
If you require any further information please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Lauren on 07503173894. She and Phil Bradley are available to interview in person, by phone or email.
Voices for the Library
Media and Communications Contact: Lauren Smith or Phil Bradley
Tel: (Lauren) 07503173894
Available 7am – 8pm Mon – Sat
In October, Leeds City Council announced plans to close 20 of its 53 library branches, in response to a council report detailing a “new vision for the future of the library service in Leeds”.
Leeds City Council argue that in order to improve the library service, 20 smaller branches must close because they do not meet the needs of Leeds communities. However, through the analysis of information provided following a Freedom of Information request, Voices for the Library have discovered that 22 of Leeds’ 53 libraries recorded an increase in library visits on the previous year (2008/09). Of these 22 libraries, 10 of these are libraries that the authority plans to close. Furthermore, six of the libraries earmarked for closure recorded increases in book loans. Use of library computers also increased, which is of particular importance for a library service in the Yorkshire region, which has some of the lowest rates of household internet access in the country. Of the number of libraries that have seen an increase in this service, the council proposes to close nine of them.
Voices for the Library, a campaign group founded by library and information professionals, have looked into the impact the proposed closures are likely to have on their communities. Some of the most deprived areas in the city have seen some of the strongest growth in library usage, yet these are the branches which look set to close. We therefore urge library campaigners and library users in the Leeds area to press the DCMS to conduct a review of these proposals. Those who most rely on libraries will be the ones that suffer, no matter the increasing numbers of people that are using them. These resources are needed now more than ever, and Leeds City Council would be unjustified in their decision to close them.
An article with full details of the proposals, information about why the reasons for closure are unsubstantiated, and what communities can do to challenge the closures, is available on the Voices for the Library blog at http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/?p=695