Famous authors defend Lambeth libraries and “the power of shared imagination”
A number of popular authors, including Irvine Welsh, Jackie Collins and Ian Rankin, have expressed support for the campaign to stop the closure of Libraries in Lambeth, South London.
Campaign group Save Lambeth Libraries circulated the author statement in opposition to the Culture 2020 consultation. They are opposed to the current proposals to reduce the borough’s statutory library service from ten to five libraries. Author Stella Duffy commented on Lambeth Council’s plans that “A civilised community needs ALL of its libraries – ALL of the time.”
The campaigners are having a public meeting on 11th March at Brixton Library. Award winning local writer Alex Wheatle will address the meeting, alongside library staff, users and campaigners.
“We welcome the support from so many writers” said Ruth Cashman of Save Lambeth Libraries. “There is growing opposition across the borough to the council’s cuts. In 2012 Sally Prentis, then Cabinet Member for Culture promised ‘we will not be closing any libraries, outsourcing the service to private companies or handing over the buildings to volunteers.’ In a scandalous retreat the council is now proposing all three.”
Editors note – text of the statement and list of authors
Libraries change lives. They are magical portals to worlds of wonder, replete with possibility, especially for poor, working class, black and ethnic minority people, they offer a hope of rising above the limiting circumstances of our birth. For the shy, isolated and excluded child, they offer companionship and a chance to rehearse bravery, for poor, working class, black and ethnic minority people the chance to meet their full potential. Libraries are more than a material resource; they are the commitment of our community to its future. They express a faith in the power of shared imagination. Lambeth Council, one of the poorest boroughs in the country, is stopping funding to half of the borough’s libraries. Two will be immediately sold off to cash in on the rising property prices locally. Others they hope will be taken over by fantasy big society community groups, or replaced by bookshelves in pubs. Threatening half the borough’s libraries with closure is a short-sighted and irresponsible plan, public libraries are an essential part of a functioning literate nation. This is an act of vandalism against the community, signalling the death of hope that anything can ever get better.
Authors: Philip Ardagh, Tim Atkinson, Margaret Bateson-Hill, Jag Bhalla, Clive Bradley, Elizabeth Buchanan, Cathy Cassidy, Mark Chadbourn, Marika Cobbold, Jane Costello, Jackie Collins, Cressida Cowell, Bobbie Darbyshire, John Dougherty, Stella Duffy, Katie Fforde, Catherine Gault, Alan Gibbons, Andrea Giles, Daisy Goodwin, Jeremy Hardy, Joanne Harris, Kate Harrison, Ian Hocking, Milly Johnson, Caroline Jowett, Bernadine Kennedy, Fiona Pitt-Kethley, Tim Lebbon, Toby Litt, Val McDermid, Anthony McGowan, Sarah McIntyre, Paul Mason, Bali Rai, Ian Rankin, Jay Rayner, Zelda Rhiando, Anna Robinson, Michael Rosen, Meg Rosoff, Marcus Sedgwick, Caroline Smailes, Irvine Welsh, Alex Wheatle, Jamie Zubairi
Save Lambeth Libraries is a campaign group set up to oppose the closure and cuts to the library service in the borough. It is having its first meeting on 11th March at Brixton Library.
Phone: Ruth Cashman 07930 845 495
Pop-up cards workshop ( Joanna Spilman workshop leader 2013/14)