Open letter to Andy Burnham

<p><i>This is the text of an open letter to Culture Secretary Andy Burnham from the Campaign for the Book.</i><br />
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Dear Andy<br />
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As you will know, Wirral council has voted to close eleven of its 24 libraries in the face of huge popular opposition You said last October at a conference in Liverpool that you were 'committed to the provision of a comprehensive library service' and that this was 'absolutely non negotiable.'</p>
<p>I understand that you have a duty as Culture Minister to assure that, under the 1964 Libraries Act, there will be a 'comprehensive and efficient service.'<br />
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If democracy means anything you must surely act. I understand that you are an Evertonian and a supporter of the 'People's Club.' I call on&nbsp; you to become the people's champion and stop these philistine cutbacks, which are taking place just a stone's throw from Liverpool, the 2008 City of&nbsp; Culture.<br />
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Evidence from the US, Canada and many areas of the UK indicates that the recession has led to increases of library usage of up to a third.&nbsp; Many councils are building new libraries or transforming existing ones into thriving centres where books and information technology co exist in an exciting symbiosis.<br />
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We must not throw away this vital cultural and community lifeline. Please act and act now to prevent Wirral becoming a byword for cultural vandalism.<br />
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Yours faithfully,<br />
Alan Gibbons<br />
Author and organiser of the Campaign for the Book</p>