Sunday, February 26, 2012

Campaign for the Book: Lobby 13 March

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey is giving evidence to the Culture, Sport and Media Select Committee on the same day, March 13th as the Speak Up for Libraries coalition, supported by the Campaign for the Book, holds a rally and lobby of parliament in support of the public library service.

We need your support to highlight the threat to our libraries.

Hundreds face the withdrawal of local authority funding. Full time library staff are being made redundant at a worrying rate. Annie Mauger, chief executive of CILIP, put the figure of jobs lost at 20% of the total.
*Attend the march and lobby. So that we have an idea of numbers please leave a comment confirming you can attend on the Speak Up for Libraries Facebook page. (See below).

*Among the speakers confirmed are Kate Mosse, author, Dan Jarvis MP, Shadow Culture Minister, Ruth Bond (National Federation of Women’s Institutes), Dave Prentis (Unison), Mar Dixon, Andrew Coburn and Laura Swaffield (The Library Campaign), Alan
Gibbons (Campaign for the Book). Further speakers including those from CILIP and Voices for the Library will be announced soon.

Lobby your MP on 13 March

During the lobby of Parliament, on 13 March, we want local library users, campaigners and staff to help us highlight the importance of libraries in providing access to learning and as a vital lifeline for many communities.

Library services have borne the considerable brunt of public spending cuts since the Coalition government took office in 2010. Of the 4,612 libraries in the UK, an estimated 10% are currently either closed or under threat of closure.

The number of paid staff in libraries has fallen by 4% over the past year, whilst the number of volunteers has increased by 22%.

Local campaigns are happening all over the UK to counter threats to library services, but at the lobby we will join together to send a clear message to MPs.

Public libraries and staff have a long and proud tradition of providing open access to information and promoting literacy, and during times of recession they are more vital than ever.

We are calling on MPs to take action to ensure library services are sustained and developed into the 21st century.

Join the rally and lobby

1. Come and attend the rally and hear high profile speakers entertainment and films all telling the same story - libraries are a valued and vital resource.

2. Visit the 'pop up' library and see for yourself the many faces a modern library.

3. Arrange to meet with your MP and tell them now is the time to act to protect libraries. Email your MP to arrange to meet them.

4. Support the campaign, and let us know if you are coming to the lobby.

The rally will take place from 11.30am at Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate, Westminster, London SW1H 9NH. The lobby of Parliament will start at 2.30pm.

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