Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Supporters Speak Up For Libraries in UK

Yesterday library staff, authors, and other library supporters gathered together at Central Hall Westminster in London as part of Speak Up For Libraries, a rally in protest of widespread funding cuts and closures of library services across the UK. After several speeches from various library supporters and a UNISON representative, attendees were encouraged to meet with their Members of Parliament in the House of Commons. Search the hashtag #SUFLlobby16 on Twitter for pictures and commentary on yesterday's event.

Staff at several library systems, including Greenwich, Bromley, and Lambeth, are on strike this week in conjunction with yesterday's protest. Tim O'Dell, a UNISON representative, said:
We’re closing the libraries for a day to fight for the future of the service.
A library staff member was quoted as saying:
Libraries are a valuable community resource providing all sort of services. What replaces that if you take it away? These gyms will have a few shelves of books—that’s not a library service. 
Various boroughs have proposed closing libraries, staffing remaining library branches with volunteers, and incorporating library services into "leisure centers" including gym facilities, in response to cuts in funding.

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