libraries week – in defence of the library, with philip pullman

libraries are at the heart of communities. they are contact zones, where people can meet, use the internet, attend a class or seminar, rent a cd or dvd, scour the local newspaper archives, research their family history, seek advice, oh and read a book. these institutions are vital. yet the coalition government sees them as an expense that they are willing to forgo.

the government has hacked away at funding for local government, which has been left to decide which services must bear the brunt. libraries are seemingly coming in towards the top of a number of lists. it’s fine, the big society will pick them up. volunteers will step in to do the work of skilled librarians. and of course, if the services are that important, communities will act to protect them. i despise this competition culture that the current government are instilling in all activities. why should the library be set against the community centre, hospital and nursery and be made to dance for funding?

i can’t begin to get across why these cuts are so ludicrous. instead i shall pass over to the award winning author philip pullman, who gave a moving, considered and bang on the money defence of library services in his native oxfordshire at the end of january. so, to kick off this week of features on libraries i shall hand over to mr pullman –


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