Library supporters have responded with anger to author Terry Deary"s comments that "Libraries have had their day".
The Sunderland-born author told The Sunderland Echo this week: “They are a Victorian idea and we are in an electronic age. They either have to change and adapt or they have to go. I know some people like them but fewer and fewer people are using them and these are straightened times. A lot of the gush about libraries is sentimentality.” He added: “The book is old technology and we have to move on, so good luck to the council.”
The Horrible Histories author, who has written dozens of titles, was the seventh most borrowed children's author at UK libraries according to the latest PLR figures.
Library activists, including fellow authors, have condemned his comments. Author Alan Gibbons wrote on his blogthat Deary's words were "downright irresponsible". He said: "Some of us who have devoted enormous amounts of time and effort to the library cause, who have marched and petitioned, lobbied and demonstrated, argued with councillors and Ministers feel utterly betrayed by Terry's words.
"Does he really want to line up with the philistines? Terry's pronouncement is not quirky or eccentric or 'just Terry'. In current circumstances it is downright irresponsible."
Children's author David Almond, who has spoken out several times on behalf of beleaguered Newcastle libraries, tweeted: "Terry Deary on libraries: self-serving ignorant cynical twaddle."
Deary appeared on BBC Look North yesterday evening (12th February), where he reiterated his views.