Public Libraries – The Challenge to Survive
At the beginning of 2011, in England, libraries are threaened to be shut down, which is followed by a rise in arms. Philipp Pullman gives a speech that is read by thousands on the Internet and even translated. (http://www.actualitte.com/actualite/23975-pullman-bibliotheques-angleterre-solidarite-budget.htm for an article on the subject and click here for the speech itself). A blog is created for the cause, where people are invited to sign a petition to save their public libraries (http://www.publiclibrariesnews.com/.
This summer, in Toronto, Margaret Atwood is fighting the cuts in the library service. Through her Twitter postings, she jams up the server hosting the petition, which has to shut down for 30 minutes. ( http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Entertainment/20110726/margaret-atwood-twitter-toronto-library-110726/)
Early August, a poll indicates that Canadians as well as Quebecers value their public library.
Overall, 84 % say it’s up to the public sector to manage the libraries. About 10% of them prefer the public sector. About 84 % of Quebecers said they favour a public support scenario. This proportion was 85 % in Ontario and 87 % in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba. (Google translation, for original text in French, see here.)
“A well-stocked library with a good librarian is a gateway to EVERYTHING. ” (Philip Ardagh)
“…libraries are the mark of development, of self-esteem, of open minds, of growth, of strength and of humanity.”
“Only someone with a closed mind closes libraries.” (Nicola Morgan)
“You get rid of libraries, you get rid of wisdom…” (Sarwat Chadda)
“To my mind libraries are the last bastion of civilization. The burning embers of culture.” (Nina Killham)
“We care that EVERYONE has access to learning, to culture. Don’t we? We should, access to ideas, freedom of thought, is integral to our democracy.” (V. Kathryn Evans)
“How many communities will not only be without books, but without their lovely, knowledgeable librarians? How many future readers, writers, and dreamers will be without inspiration and the joy of discovering new worlds and new ideas?” (Sue Hyams)
“A closed library means learning is cancelled.” (Philippa Francis)