Authors Kate Mosse and Philip Ardagh join library campaigners to march on Westminster. They plan to lobby MPs about a public library service they say is in “crisis”. With new research from Unison showing that more than 100 libraries across the country have either closed, are run by volunteers or have been turned into social enterprises since April 2011, campaigners prepared to take the battle from a local to a national level at an event organised by new alliance Speak Up for Libraries. Backed by Unison, the Women’s Institute, libraries body Cilip, authors and locals, the group wants the government to “recognise the crisis hitting [libraries] and to take urgent action”.
The WI is set to kick off the day of library support by delivering a 70,000-signature petition in support of libraries to 10 Downing Street, calling on the government “to honour both its commitment to act as a champion of the library service, and its duty of oversight to ensure that a comprehensive and efficient library service is provided”.
Up to 500 library lovers are due to gather in Westminster’s Central Hall, where support will be rallied by Labour’s shadow arts minister Dan Jarvis, along with Mosse, Ardagh and the children’s author Alan Gibbons, before the group sets off on a march to parliament to lobby an extensive list of MPs aboutlibrary closures.