Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Save Our Libraries Day!

Julia Donaldson and Theresa Breslin protesting outside the Scottish Parliament today. Photograph: Scott Taylor/

Today, 5th February (my brother’s 40th birthday!) is Save Our Libraries Day in the UK!

This means that all over the UK people are coming out in force to protest over the short sighted, small minded, penny pinching closures of one of this countries greatest assets- free literature and education for all!

It appears to me, that in these times of hardship (and as a very skint, very in-debt, very financially destitute personage… I feel the pain!) things have to be cut back.  I’m cutting out unnecessary shoes, I dye my own hair and I refuse to buy any wine that isn’t at least half price.  But, I still buy the same amount of books!  I could no more cut them out of my life than cut off my own arm to save money on gloves. To rid ourselves of culture and education is a foolish and backward thinking move on the part of whoever pulls the purse strings.

So, if I get this up early enough.  And if you live in the UK.  And if you love books and you love the free access of books for all.  And you believe that the access to these educational, joyous, entertaining, mass-appeal things of beauty and enjoyment are AT ALL important… then YOU MUST PROTEST!

There are hundreds of venues and opportunities.

Please follow Alan Gibbons who has been tirelessly fighting for our Libraries a very long time:

also, Voices for the Library where there are is a list of Venues that you can go to:

CILIP has some suggestions of things you can do:

And the Guardian is very involved with this Campaign:

This is incredibly important and something that it is vital to support.  If you’re still not convinced read this amazing speech from Philip Pullman where he says:

I still remember the first library ticket I ever had. It must have been about 1957. My mother took me to the public library just off Battersea Park Road and enrolled me. I was thrilled. All those books, and I was allowed to borrow whichever I wanted! And I remember some of the first books I borrowed and fell in love with: the Moomin books by Tove Jansson; a French novel for children called A Hundred Million Francs; why did I like that? Why did I read it over and over again, and borrow it many times? I don’t know. But what a gift to give a child, this chance to discover that you can love a book and the characters in it, you can become their friend and share their adventures in your own imagination.

And the secrecy of it! The blessed privacy! No-one else can get in the way, no-one else can invade it, no-one else even knows what’s going on in that wonderful space that opens up between the reader and the book. That open democratic space full of thrills, full of excitement and fear, full of astonishment, where your own emotions and ideas are given back to you clarified, magnified, purified, valued. You’re a citizen of that great democratic space that opens up between you and the book. And the body that gave it to you is the public library. Can I possibly convey the magnitude of that gift?

Somewhere in Blackbird Leys, somewhere in Berinsfield, somewhere in Botley, somewhere in Benson or in Bampton, to name only the communities beginning with B whose libraries are going to be abolished, somewhere in each of them there is a child right now, there are children, just like me at that age in Battersea, children who only need to make that discovery to learn that they too are citizens of the republic of reading. Only the public library can give them that gift.

It’s up to us all.

About Eve Harvey

Eve Harvey is a bookaholic. She is forever to be found with her nose in a book. If there are none around then newspapers, magazines, the back of cereal packets, road signs or the tiny washing labels found on the seams of jumpers will do. Eve used to have full time job as a children's bookseller and she was the very first Waterstone's Children's Expert Bookseller in Scotland. Her first love was definitely literature for children and teens, about which she has nerd-level knowledge. However she has since become involved in grown-up books and has co-written her first adult novel with Cath Murphy. Eve and Cath Podcast, blog and have far too much fun on their website Domestic Hell. Eve lives in a field just outside Edinburgh in Scotland with her daughter and son and two dogs and two rabbits. She also has some tanks of tropical fish and vows one day to start up a marine aquarium. And the day she signs her very first publishing deal she is going to celebrate by buying a pair of Horsefields tortoises. You can find Eve through her Agent, Ella Kahn at DKW Literary Agency. She's also on Twitter or on her website :

10 comments on “Save Our Libraries Day!

  1. rosyb
    February 5, 2011

    Just back from a protest outside the Scottish Parliament. We even took the dog (who is passionate about libraries…hmmm). Some great speeches and many writers and members of the public protesting.

  2. John Latham
    February 5, 2011

    I got a book out today as well as books on Thursday because it is such an important cause. A country with fewer libraries will be a less humane, sicker, poorer place to live. It was affluent bankers and corrupt politicians and people who wanted unearned income who caused this crisis. It is criminal that readers on limited means, children, pensioners and so on should have to pay because of the greed of others. The campaign to save libraries is on Twitter too. Best wishes, Jon.

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Save Our Libraries Day! « Vulpes Libris --

  4. Jackie
    February 5, 2011

    An important day, I hope the protests made some impressions on politicians. That is a tremendous quote from Philip Pullman, it made em a bit teary.
    Thanks to all who braved the cold to join in the protests.

  5. RosyB
    February 5, 2011
  6. Sharonrob
    February 5, 2011

    We buy a lot of our own books, partly because I find hardback copies of bulky volumes difficult to handle. So we wait for the paperback and leave the library copy for someone with less income and more stamina than me. However, we use our local library as well and would miss it if it weren’t there. I visit several times a week and business is never slow – there always seem to be plenty of people browsing the stacks, taking things out, using the computers. I regularly see people with great stacks of books under their arms (our lending limit is a generous 15 items) whether for themselves or someone else and wonder what it represents in terms of better mental health, less isolation, a better understanding of the wider world, or just greater happiness for someone who is bored with the TV schedules.

    I totally agree that library users (and those of other public services) should not pay for the fecklessness of those who mess about with high finance and get it wrong. Moreover, at a time when the economy is fragile and people’s jobs are at risk, public services are more necessary than ever. The service may disappear, but the needs won’t.

    I visited the library today, and took out Cousin Bette, just because I’ve not read any Balzac. There must be a lot of readers who do the same – they’ll try something new if they don’t have to pay for it. Aside from which, there are those who simply don’t have the money. You wouldn’t know it to listen to David Cameron and his colleagues, but for some people, £10 is a lot to lay out for something you can’t eat or wear.

  7. Nikki
    February 5, 2011

    About the only time I don’t get books out of the library very often is the first three months of the year, as I get books for Christmas and my birthday. Otherwise I use the library every fortnight. It was an absolute godsend when I was unemployed – I could hardly afford books, but thanks to the library I still have the comfort and joy of them.

    I don’t live in a particularly wealthy area and I think it would be a real shame to see the library go. Especially as the one nearest me was shut for well over 6 months to be refurbished. I personally would be really upset to see my library go.

    I’m lucky enough to have one ten minute walk away and another about half an hour’s walk. I prefer the one that’s further away as it’s larger, there’s more choice and it’s part of a larger building that houses an art gallery, social services centre and small cinema (I used to see films there every Saturday for £3, then go into the library – happy days). For me, it’s also a hub in the community. I’ve gone to some of the knitting classes there, I’m considering one of the computing classes. Libraries are essential for more reasons than books.

  8. EmmaB
    February 5, 2011

    Great article.

    It’s especially serious for children and teenagers. I visit lots of schools and know plenty don’t think a school library is a priority (some secondaries are getting rid of their libraries altogether and replacing them with computer suites). So they are not getting enough books at school, and often children can’t afford to buy books themselves – and anyway, as we all know, local bookstores are becoming thin on the ground. Kids can’t go to Waterstones alone if it means a trip into town.

    As libraries close, children will be more and more dependent on having parents who value reading…and plenty of them don’t. Or they just don’t have the time or money to pay for their kids’ reading habit, or sometimes the necessary skills to help them pick out books… These cuts will do lasting damage to a generation.

  9. Pingback: Save Our Libraries: Theresa Breslin tells us why it’s so important « Vulpes Libris

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This entry was posted on February 5, 2011 by in Entries by Eve, Special Features and tagged , , , , .



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