UPDATE: The Mayor of Liverpool has announced that the 11 libraries will not be closed – wonderful news! Congratulations library campaigners and Liverpool City Council..
Liverpool Council have announced that 11 of the city’s 19 libraries may have to be closed because of spending cuts. These proposals have prompted a unique campaign from Children’s Author Cathy Cassidy who is asking writers and readers to write a Love Letter to Liverpool’s Libraries and send it to the Mayor of Liverpool. More info (and an interview with Cathy) is on the Independent Liverpool blog, but here’s our love letter:
4th November 2014
Mayor Joe Anderson,
Liverpool Town Hall,
Liverpool L2 3SW
A Love Letter to Liverpool Libraries
Dear Mayor Anderson,
It was with huge sadness that I heard about the proposed closure of 11 libraries in Liverpool. I understand from reading your blog this wasn’t an easy decision and realise local government are being asked to make drastic cuts but please I would urge you to reconsider this one.
The Siobhan Dowd Trust is a small charity which was set up by the Children’s Author Siobhan Dowd to inherit the proceeds of her work. We fund small projects which aim to bring the joy of reading to those that need it most. We interpret “those who need it most” fairly widely, though it tends to be mainly (though not exclusively) economic disadvantage.
I had learnt of the brilliant work being done in Liverpool with the Reader Organisation and the Mayoral focus on making Liverpool the foremost reading city in the UK. What a wonderful ambition! But to propose the closure of 11 out of 19 libraries? How can this be in the City of Readers? Is there really no other alternative?
I know these cuts are nothing new. A few months ago we were protesting about cuts to Cornish Library services. My own local library in South London is now relocated, shrunken and run by volunteers (the old building now a private school – what a sign of the times!). Another is a local phone box with a “take a book, leave a book” scheme. Both do a good job, but are no substitute for a proper library with trained and skilled and caring librarians.
In shutting libraries and making access to books more difficult we are doing far more than cutting valuable public services. We are limiting life choices and potential.
Please reconsider these library closures and work with those campaigning to save the libraries under threat in Liverpool. We should not be letting central government spending restrictions limit future generations imaginations and viewpoints.
If we can help in any way (would that we had the funds to step in!) please get in touch,
Director, The Siobhan Dowd Trust
This letter was inspired by Cathy Cassidy and her invitation to the writing (and reading) community to join the campaign to Save Liverpool’s Libraries.