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.
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.