Open Letter to Jeremy Hunt MP, John Penrose MP and Ed Vaizey MP

Dear Sirs,

In your roles as Ministers at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport I would like you to reconsider your position on the closure of small local libraries, and school libraries. As a primary school teacher for over a decade, a parent and a children’s writer, I believe your Department must step in and  prevent wide-spread  destruction of these esssential local facilities.

If you wash your hands of this you are saying that:

  • you don’t care about children who have no books at home , in fact, you don’t care about anyone who has no other access to books
  • you think the excitement and specialness of entering a physical world of ideas isn’t important for lots of children or adults
  • you want children to see reading as only  something you do to fill in worksheets at school
  • you think Library events such as Toddlers’ Storytime, talks to the elderly about nutrition and drop-in sessions for people for whom English is an additional language no longer need the space they have been used to
  • you think writers don’t want small local spaces to work in and connect with their readers – without commercial pressure
  • you don’t think support for adults who find reading and writing a real challenge needs to be done at an approachable  local level
  • you think it will be OK for people who haven’t got their own transport to have to travel miles to find a library that is still open
  • you think it will be acceptable to expect people  who have got transport to travel miles
  • you think people in bed & breakfast accommodation don’t need anywhere to go and learn, that the homeless have  no right to books,
  • you think only people who can pay should have a safe and comfortable environment in which to read study and meet others nearby
  • you think people who have no internet access don’t need any learning facilities near them
  • In short you don’t care about libraries and everything they do, you just want money to be saved at the expense of our culture.

Yours

        Philippa R. Francis,  MA (Hons ) Primary Education,  BA (Hons) English Literature

I am far from the only one to feel this way, please read these

23 thoughts on “Open Letter to Jeremy Hunt MP, John Penrose MP and Ed Vaizey MP

  1. Fantastic Philippa!! My brother in law in NZ, once told me he objects to taxpayers money supporting libraries over there as he never goes inside one!!! I told him taxpayers money supports things I don’t use….swimming pools, etc…but that doesn’t mean I think people should be deprived of them!!! Our Granddaughter loves to go to the library with us and browse through books, listen to stories and so on…….makes my blood boil when people pick on such great institutions!! I spent hours in the local library as a shy young primary school pupil.
    I could rave on for hours………hope the politicians see sense on this subject!!

    • Please rant ! But do it on twitter/ facebook/ to MPs please.
      We have got to show the powers-that-be that culture matters.
      Thanks for the comment.

  2. I’m really pleased to see this letter, Philippa. You may be interested in http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk , a national campaign defending public libraries. Our aim is to present positive personal stories from library users to highlight the value of public libraries in the 21st century. All stories can be submitted via contact details on the website. We are also on Twitter as @ukpling.
    Thank you.

  3. Dear KM,

    Excellent post, you really know what you’re talking about.

    I know you know about the Public Libraries News blog as you left a comment on it – but just in case some of your readers don’t know, the site keeps an up-to-date count of libraries under threat and tries to be as comprehensive as possible about media coverage. The site is as http://publiclibrariesnews.blogspot.com/. The horrible truth at the moment is that 249 libraries and 17 mobiles are currently under threat in the UK.

    That’s a lot of kids who will never know the feeling of browsing physical books outside of school.

    Regards

    Ian

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