Unions and WI in Westminster rally to protect the future of libraries
Libraries face a “bleak future” because of cuts and underfunding, campaigners will warn the Westminster government today.
A new alliance, Speak up for Libraries, will tell ministers that support for libraries was long overdue, plunging the service into a “crisis.”
More than 100 libraries in England and Wales have either closed or are being run by volunteers in the past year, while those left open were being “pared to the bone” because of cuts, according to a study by Unison.
Now campaigners will protest at a rally in London ahead of a hearing by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee on library closures.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: “Communities need libraries now more than ever before, but in their hour of need, drastic cuts to council budgets mean libraries are under serious threat. By speaking up for libraries, our alliance is sending the government a strong message that we will not take this threat to vital local services and to future generations lying down.
“The government will not get away with consigning libraries to the history books.”
Ruth Bond, chairman of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said: “As champions of libraries for the last 96 years, WI members are dismayed to see the government stand by while our library service crumbles.
“With libraries and library staff under threat from a fatal combination of closures and service cutbacks, our leaders seem to be watching in silence while the service is eroded. Action to safeguard the future of the service is long overdue.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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