Acclaimed authors back library protests

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Star of Little Britain, and acclaimed children’s author David Walliams, is backing protests against the closure of libraries in Essex.

He is urging support for the ‘Carnival for Libraries’, which marches on Essex County Hall this Saturday June 8.

The march assembles outside the Saracen’s Head in Chelmsford High Street at midday. Musicians, poets, and comedians will be performing on the steps of County Hall.

In a Tweet today Walliams posted a picture saying ‘SAVE ESSEX LIBRARIES’ and said: “I rarely owned books as a child, instead I went to my local library.

“It was there that I developed my love of reading, and later writing. It makes me sad that children might grow up never having a local library. All libraries need to be saved. When they go, they go forever.”

Joy

Another children’s book author, poet, and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen has also joined the growing list of prestigious authors in support of the protest against Essex County Council’s strategy to close up to 44 of Essex’s 74 public libraries.

After seeing a video of an 11-year-old library user rallying crowds at the Young People’s March for Libraries in Colchester, Michael Rosen retweeted and then responded in a post.

A. L. Kennedy, international award winning writer, condemned the Council’s plans, saying: “Libraries are always vital. They offer everyone a source of free education, information, internet access and all the joys of reading at any age.

“More than that they offer a literal shelter from life’s storms and a venue for all kinds of activities. Libraries offer most to our weakest and most isolated citizens. All its residents deserve a full library service and the path out of poverty that offers.”

Jojo Moyes, journalist and award winning novelist, wrote: “I owe my career to the library that kept me in books growing up. Cuts to libraries are among the most short-sighted savings to make.

“There are few resources left in our society that are free, and able to both entertain and educate. Instead of closing libraries, we need to reverse the vicious cycle of cutting budgets so that library users can get the books they want when they want them. If you keep cutting a service eventually it will appear unloved by its users. And we will lose a resource we can never get back”.

Acclaimed poet, singer-songwriter and columnist, Martin Newell explained why he will be speaking at the Save Our Libraries rally: “I look upon the proposed closure of so many of our county’s libraries as a humanitarian matter rather than a political one. How can I stand by and allow those in charge, to take a step so retrograde that its net outcome will be an exponential increase in our collective ignorance?”

Kes Gray, the bestselling picture book author, said: “When libraries close, enquiring minds close with them. Libraries are an open invitation for children to freely engage with the world, to read, to explore, to enquire and escape.”

Clare Mulley, award winning biographer, told how much she relies on both libraries and their staff: “I still use my local library, and take advice from librarians on my research, and value it more and more.

Everyone should have these opportunities!”
Children’s book author and literacy expert, Liz Miles, said: “Closing libraries, undermining their services and removing professional staff will damage early years learning and widen the word gap – it’s a false economy.”

A spokesperson for SOLE, who are orgainising the march, said “We look forward to the biggest family friendly protest Essex has seen in decades on Saturday. Everybody is welcome.

” The march will start at noon outside the Saracens Head Hotel.

Visit Facebook @SaveOurLibrariesEssex.

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