February 5, 2011

Today is "Save Our Libraries" Day in the U.K.

Image courtesy CILIP

Today there will be protests against recent and proposed library closings in the United Kingdom, according to the Guardian.

With nearly 500 libraries and bookmobiles on the chopping block, I must stand up for these protesters and salute their support of the public's right to read!

If you're interested in finding out what kind of activities are planned across the U.K., visit Voices for the Library.

Author Philip Pullman recently gave an impassioned speech in support of libraries. You can read the full text of his speech here.

Here's my favorite part:
My mother took me to the public library just off Battersea Park Road and enrolled me. I was thrilled. All those books, and I was allowed to borrow whichever I wanted! And I remember some of the first books I borrowed and fell in love with: the Moomin books by Tove Jansson; a French novel for children called A Hundred Million Francs; why did I like that? Why did I read it over and over again, and borrow it many times? I don’t know. But what a gift to give a child, this chance to discover that you can love a book and the characters in it, you can become their friend and share their adventures in your own imagination.

And the secrecy of it! The blessed privacy! No-one else can get in the way, no-one else can invade it, no-one else even knows what’s going on in that wonderful space that opens up between the reader and the book. That open democratic space full of thrills, full of excitement and fear, full of astonishment, where your own emotions and ideas are given back to you clarified, magnified, purified, valued. You’re a citizen of that great democratic space that opens up between you and the book. And the body that gave it to you is the public library. Can I possibly convey the magnitude of that gift?
I urge you to support your own local public library, wherever you are in the world. Use the library often--afterall, it's a prime example of your tax money at work for the COMMON GOOD.


  1. i am a retired library assistant; what can i say on the matter save " Long Live Libraries"
    much love...

  2. Aren't libraries great! Rich and poor, young and old, everyone is served. Thanks, Gillena!

  3. This is a worldwide crisis for those of us who write and all of us who read. Here in California, if people vote in June to cut taxes, we will experience unimaginable library closings as well.

    Best of luck to you, and to us all....