Yesterday I visited Caroline Chisholm School in Northampton, a modern school incorporating primary and secondary. After giving a talk to the creative writing students, I was given a tour, and dropped into the library (Wootton Fields) to donate a couple of copies of Darklands.
It’s an excellent, large, well stocked library, serving both the school and the public. Whilst chatting to the librarians it transpired that they are under notice of being closed down within a couple of months, as a cost saving exercise. The large book stock will be replaced by a temporary mobile library.
Really? This is what the council wants to save money on? One large library serving the public, a secondary school and a primary school? Which was shortlisted for Library of the Year by the Bookseller Industry Awards 2012? Which as well as the usual library services also provides many events and activities throughout the year?
Astonishing. And utterly depressing. Surely no one doubts that childrens education is one of the last places cuts should be made? And surely no one doubts that a library is absolutely crucial to providing education?
Libraries matter – and none more so than school libraries. One of the campaign’s supporters told me yesterday,
“The library is used by people of all ages – all members of the community. Families use it together.”
A rally is planned outside the library building for Sunday July 8 at 2pm. I won’t be able to go, as I’ve returned home to Derbyshire now. I hope it doesn’t rain on them :-S
*UPDATE: 80 supporters turned up for the rally on sunday afternoon, despite the weather AND the tennis!*
Many dozens of authors have already given their support to the campaign to save Wootton Fields Library, including Anne Fine, Julia Golding, Malorie Blackman, Meg Rosoff, and Marcus Sedgwick.
You can add your support by signing the e-petition here.
You can also contact members of the County Council to register your unhappiness about the proposed closure:
Councillor Heather Smith (Cabinet Member responsible for Libraries) firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Joan Kirkbride (Deputy Leader of the Council) email@example.com
Countillor Phil Larratt (County Councillor for our ward) firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you could contact the local press in Northampton to tell them how you feel about the proposed closure. Contacts below:
The Northampton Chronicle & Echo, Callum Jones, email@example.com
Anglia TV news. Katrina Rattigan, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also CC in email@example.com
BBC Radio Northampton, Willy Gilder, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also CC in email@example.com
BBC Look East TV news, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for any help.