Profile to publish starry book for National Libraries Day

Alan Bennett, Julian Barnes and Stephen Fry are among the stellar contributors to The Library Book, to be published by Profile for National Libraries Day on 4th February.

The book is a compilation of famous writers' thoughts on why libraries matter and is edited by Profile publicist Rebecca Gray, who volunteers in her spare time for a mobile library for homeless people. All royalties will go to charity The Reading Agency to help their work supporting libraries.

Tom Holland will write about libraries in the ancient world, while Seth Godin describes what a library will look like in 2020, and Lionel Shriver explains why books are the best investment. Barnes contributes a previously unseen extract from his novel England, England.

The starry line-up also includes Susan Hill, Lucy Mangan, Val McDermid, China Miéville, Julie Myerson, Adele Parks and many more. Gray said: "What's really come through in this project is how libraries liberate people, shape them, allow them to educate themselves. So many people are passionate about libraries, not just for the books, but for the space—and freedom—they provide."

McKearney called the book "a wonderful way to celebrate National Libraries Day", saying the generosity of publisher and contributors would help drive TRA's popular "six book challenge" schemes for children and adults forward despite the cutbacks.