The UK’s National Libraries Day on February 7th passed off with some sad testaments to the protracted collapse of the British library sector, as well as events and statements in favor and defense of libraries from across the country. As children’s author Cathy Cassidy says on the National Libraries Day blog, “sadly, many of us no longer have a local library to visit or celebrate. Over 300 libraries have closed in the UK in the last four years; hundreds more have been passed out of council control and into the hands of private ‘partners’ or community volunteers. With promises that the next round of austerity cuts will be harsher still, things are not looking good for libraries.”

National Libraries Day saw over 700 events, including large scale protests against library cutbacks and closures. Whether they deliver any material improvement in the quality of library services, however, is a different story. As Cathy Cassidy adds, “At a time when one in three children does not own a book, library cuts will ensure that those children cannot borrow a book either. There is a certain irony in a government that wants to ‘wage war on illiteracy’ while quietly closing hundreds of libraries; it’s not just a missed opportunity, it’s a national scandal. Yes, the cost of running public libraries is high – but the cost of losing them is higher still.”


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail