Fighting For Libraries

This week, bestselling children’s writer Terry Deary – author of the mega-million-selling Horrible Histories series – condemned libraries to the scrapheap of, er, history.

Libraries “have been around too long”, he believes, and are “no longer relevant”.  Deary is the seventh most-borrowed children’s writer in UK libraries – so presumably he knows what he’s talking about.

Or does he?  Challenging his view that “the concept behind libraries is no longer relevant” is fellow children’s author and libraries campaigner Alan Gibbons. Also appearing on this special edition of LAD is Chair of The Library Campaign Laura Swaffield. 

This is a vital, timely show for everyone who cares about the dwindling provision of public library services in the UK and beyond.  Because make no mistake: there is a political dimension to this.  With 212 UK libraries closed last year, and 300 more on the chopping block this year, we have to act now.  Or never.

And a sobering reminder.  According to a March 2012 report, ‘The Economic and Social Cost of Illiteracy’ published by the World Literacy Foundation:

“22% of the UK’s population is estimated to be functionally illiterate, meaning they may have difficulty with basic tasks such as applying for a job, writing a letter to their MP or reading their child’s school report. Illiteracy is estimated to cost the UK economy approximately $127 billion a year (£81 billion).”

The cost of maintaining the UK Library Service is approximately £900 p.a.

Presented by Peter Cox, Ali Gardiner and Ian Winn.

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