Friday 1 February 2008

When Public Libraries Need Saving


You know things are getting bad when a council starts closing down it's public libraries.

Walthamstow (a London borough) did just that to the St. James Street public library last year - without any public consultation, or even warning.

An modest oasis for learning and culture in a deprived area, it was cut on the budget grounds. This, from a city that can afford to host the 2012 Olympic games costing millions.

The residents feel so strongly about this, that they started their own 'free library' every weekend outside the disused building; they've got a petition going; they've had support from the Children's Laureate, Michael Rosen.

And what have the council done? Not much. An empty building sits there, its books already unceremoniously removed. In fact Walstamstow doesn't have a great record at the moment - it's cutting back on support for the William Morris Museum as well.

If you'd like to let Walthamstow know what message such cuts give out, then here's how to complain.

The short version is ... an email to

cc-d to

If you feel really keen, put "FORMAL COMPLAINT" as your subject.

Will the council do the right thing and change their mind? I hope so. If you believe in public libraries, whether you live in London or not, let them know your thoughts.

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