Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Letter to Culture Secretary from Alan Gibbons

This is the text of an open letter to Culture Secretary Andy Burnham from the Campaign for the Book.

Dear Andy,
As you will know, Wirral council has voted to close eleven of its 24 libraries in the face of huge popular opposition
You said last October at a conference in Liverpool that you were 'committed to the provision of a comprehensive library service' and that this was 'absolutely non negotiable.'
I understand that you have a duty as Culture Minister to assure that, under the 1964 Libraries Act, there will be a 'comprehensive and efficient service.'
If democracy means anything you must surely act. I understand that you are an Evertonian and a supporter of the 'People's Club.' I call on you to become the people's champion and stop these philistine cutbacks, which are taking place just a stone's throw from Liverpool, the 2008 City of Culture.
Evidence from the US, Canada and many areas of the UK indicates that the recession has led to increases of library usage of up to a third. Many councils are building new libraries or transforming existing ones into thriving centres where books and information technology co exist in an exciting symbiosis.
We must not throw away this vital cultural and community lifeline.
Please act and act now to prevent Wirral becoming a byword for cultural vandalism.
Yours faithfully,
Alan Gibbons
Author and organizer of the Campaign for the Book

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