Authors call for moratorium on library closures

Authors call for moratorium on library closures

An open letter to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and culture minister Ed Vaizey calling for a halt to library closures after the success of last weekend's protests has been signed by high-profile authors including Sarah Waters and Anne Fine.

The line-up also includes Terry Jones, Kathy Lette, Jackie Kay, Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman and Kate Mosse, as well as organisations including The Reading Agency, the Federation of Children's Book Groups, and the Royal Society of Literature.

The letter, written by Alan Gibbons of Campaign for the Book, tells the ministers that the 100 read-ins on Save Our Libraries day showed just how much libraries mean to their communities. "We hoped for a dozen events, but local people took up the call and made it something refreshing, urgent, local and liberating. They have put out a positive message: our libraries, our communities, our right to have a say over their future."

It goes on: "We call on you to heed the view of the people. Libraries are a vital part of local communities as are trained librarians to staff them. The National Literacy Trust has given evidence that visiting a library makes you twice as likely to be a good reader, the very foundation stone of academic and social achievement. We, the undersigned appeal to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to call a moratorium on library closures now and convene a seminar involving all the major representatives of library users and librarians' organizations."