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Open letter to Jeremy Hunt MP and Ed Vaizey MP,
Ministers at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
Dear Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey,
Library users and staff across the country are increasingly concerned at the implications of the Comprehensive Spending Review. Over 250 library closures have been announced. Some, for example those in Oxfordshire and Lewisham, are in areas involved in the pilot of the Future Libraries Programme which promised: “A strong library service, based around the needs of local people, can play a key role in our ambitions to build the Big Society by providing safe and inclusive spaces for people to read, learn and access a range of community services.”When the then Secretary of State Andy Burnham hesitated over halting Wirral’s attempted closure of half its libraries just over a year ago, Ed Vaizey said: "If Andy Burnham is not prepared to intervene
when library provision is slashed in a local authority such as the Wirral, it is clear that he is gnoring his responsibilities as secretary of state.” Andy Burnham did, of course, change his mind under pressure after several months. Now cuts approaching the scale of those in the Wirral are
being repeated across the country, not only in Oxfordshire and Lewisham, but Buckinghamshire, Nottinghamshire, Leeds, Brent, Gloucestershire and many, many more. Ed Vaizey has written to councils reminding them of their duty under the 1964 Libraries and Museums Act to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service. It is becoming commonplace for councils to close up to half their library branch networks. It would be inconsistent if the DCMS did not superintend councils acting as unjustifiably as Wirral, preventing the slashing of services. We call on the DCMS not to ignore its responsibilities. We ask you to act in the spirit of the 1964 Act and prevent councils inflicting cuts which amount to cultural vandalism.
Organiser, the Campaign for the Book
The following authors, illustrators, poets, publishers, librarians, teachers, journalists, agents, screenwriters, translators, film producers and general readers have signed the petition:
Philip Pullman, Kate Mosse, Michael Holroyd, Peter Dickinson, Barry Cryer, Carol Ann Duffy,
Bonnie Greer, Kathy Lette
“Closing our libraries will make us a nation of numbskulls – theIlliterati.” Kathy Lette.
Julia Donaldson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Michael Rosen, Jackie Kay, Kwei Armah, Malorie Blackman, Beverley Naidoo, Joan Bakewell, Terry Jones, Lisa Appignanesi, President English PEN, Mark Le Fanu, Society of Authors, Simon Brett, Anne Chisholm, Chair, Royal Society of Literature, Tricia Adams, Director, School Library Association, Biddy Fisher, Cilip President,
Duncan Wright, School Librarian of the Year, 2010, Gillian Cross, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Nicola Morgan,Tim Bowler, Christine Blower, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, Tony Bradman, David Nicholls, Celia Rees, Jeremy Strong, Korky Paul, Bali Rai, Bernard Ashley
AND MANY HUNDREDS MORE including the Carousel team.