Elizabeth Ash and Laura Swaffield, Trustees of The Library Campaign, delivered the following speech on behalf of The Library Campaign at the Speak up For libraries Lobby of Parliament on 9 February 2016.
TLC formed in 1984.
Things looked bad then.
But nobody would have dreamt that the situation would be so very much worse today.
Local campaigners are the backbone of the fight to keep libraries alive and indeed of the struggle to explain to politicians just how vital they are. And this struggle continues at national level right now.
For instance, there is a Libraries Taskforce, which is supposed to be working on common issues affecting public libraries.
But library users and library campaigners have not been given a place on the steering committee – the top table, if you like.
They just don’t get it.
But then, he’s never quite with us, is he?
We’ve been trying for months to arrange a public debate between Ed and Alan Gibbons, which he says he is eager to have – but he just can’t fix a time for it.
Many of us are working 24/7 at local level.
Today is a rare chance to join forces physically to show that the plight of public libraries is a national issue – a serious national problem – and politicians must take the issue seriously.
– a serious national problem – and politicians must take the issue seriously.
– and politicians must take the issue seriously.
We have people from across England and as far as North Wales who have travelled to be here for this event.
Thank you all so much for coming to speak up for libraries, to push the politicians to acknowledge the value of libraries and to act to defend the public library service before it is too late!