Below is a letter to the Secretary of State responsible for public libraries in the UK. Over the last year 1000 librarian positions have disappeared, and there is an expectation that there are to be 6000 more job losses. Hundreds of libraries are also closing or due to close, and where they remain open they will have restricted hours and be run by volunteers.
If you wish to express your solidarity with our colleagues struggling to maintain a decent library service in the UK, please add your name (or comments) to this letter in the comments area.
Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP
Secretary of State
Department of Culture Media & Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH
Dear Secretary of State
We the undersigned Australian librarians, library workers and supporters write to protest the current and planned mass closures of public libraries across the United Kingdom and to request that you use your powers under the 1964 Public Libraries & Museums Act to “secure the proper discharge by local authorities of the functions in relation to libraries conferred on them as library authorities by or under this Act”
Free public libraries as we know them began in the UK with the Public Libraries Act of 1850. Since that time British public libraries have been a model to be copied overseas and fundamental to the success and development of British society.
It is imperative now with the current recession that British libraries continue to exist to provide information services to help rebuild the economy, help people to learn new skills and to provide information and support for the unemployed.
The sacking of thousands of library staff and the closure of hundreds of public libraries cannot be justified at this time of real need and must not be allowed to continue. For without libraries Britain cannot continue to claim to be a truly civilised or developed nation.