Brent residents have put up one hell of a fight for their libraries having seen half of them closed by Brent Council. Their determination is underlined by the number of campaigns that are still going strong and the community libraries that have been set up.
There is a national lobby of Parliament organised by Speak Up for Librarues and supported by Unison on Tuesday February 9th.
Aldersgate Room, Central Hall, Storey's Gate, SW1H 9NH
10am Registration, with tea, coffee and biscuits provided and the chance to network.
11am The rally with speeches, music, videos and information on how to lobby your MP.
The full line up of speakers is:
• Eve Ainsworth (Seven Days, The Blog of Maisy Malone) – just launching her latest novel Crush with Scholastic (‘Love hurts… but should it hurt this much?’).
• Philip Ardagh, multiple award-winning comic writer and dramatist (the Grubtown Tales, Eddie Dickens & The Grunts series) – Guardian book reviewer and the loudest beard in literature.
• Jake Arnott (The Long Firm, He Kills Coppers, truecrime, Johnny Come Home, The Devil’s Paintbrush, The House of Rumour) – the first two made into successful TV serials.
• Cathy Cassidy, million selling Queen of Teen award winner (the Chocolate Box Girls series, Looking-Glass Girl) – breaking off from a schools and libraries tour to promote her new paperbacks (Penguin Random House).
• John Dougherty, irrepressible children’s writer (the Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face series) – singing by special request his classic lament ‘What’s Wrong with [libraries minister] Ed Vaizey?’
• Dawn Finch, librarian, literacy consultant and best-selling author (Skara Brae, Brotherhood of Shades, The Book of Worth) – speaking here as President of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals)
• Alan Gibbons, million-selling, multiple award-winning children’s writer (Shadow of the Minotaur, End Game, Hate) – tireless campaigner and international speaker.
• Laura Swaffield and Elizabeth Ash, The Library Campaign.
• Heather Wakefield, head of local government, UNISON.
• Alan Wylie, Voices for the Library.
1pm onwards Delegates will make their way from Central Hall Westminster to the House of Commons to meet with their MPs.
Details of how to lobby your MP will be recapped on the day but do write to your MP to try to arrange a meeting with them and please check the security requirements also. Full details of how to lobby your MP, including a link to security requirements and a sample letter, can be found here
Please book to let organisers have an idea of numbers and to receive updates
Brent got a mention in a poem by Alan Gibbons who set up the National Libraries Day.
This is the real value of libraries:
When you open a book
You open a mind.
If there are many open books
Then minds open
If there are many open books
People kick at doors
That are closed,
They tug at cases that are shut,
Ask questions about laws
That are unquestionable.
For that reason some people
Would rather a book
Like a door.
In Brent they came
To turn a door
Into a wall,
Into a final chapter
Arrived with open minds
Instead of hammers and nails,
With angler’s chairs
Instead of hammers and crowbars,
While the libraries stay open,
The books stay open,
The minds stay open,
The final chapter
Is still to be written
And the first chapter
Is still to be thought.