Calls for cross-industry campaign to save library service

<p>Figures across the book trade are looking to join forces in a bid to save library services from disproportionate cuts, expected to be announced as part of the Budget on 22nd June.&nbsp; </p><p>In an email seen by <em>The Bookseller,</em> BA chief executive Tim Godfray said the body would be happy to attend a cross-industry meeting to find a way to preserve services and outlined key points in a campaign plan.</p><p>He said: &quot;Rather than sitting around a table with friends and saying, in affect, that libraries are a good thing and we should mount a campaign, it would be much more beneficial if at the first cross-industry meeting we could be presented with a campaign plan.&quot;<br /><br />Godfray stressed the campaign &quot;has&quot; to be led by people within the library service, but suggested a number of key areas that should be considered, including identifying the relevant &quot;decision makers&quot;, deciding on the most effective arguments in approaching them, and working out how the campaign may be financed. </p><p>The group should include specialists in lobbying, communications and &quot;perhaps an economist (if the key arguments are going to centre around money)&quot;, he added. <br /><br />&quot;The Booksellers Association believes that libraries play an essential part in society. I suppose it could be argued that without libraries booksellers would sell more books &ndash; but we don&rsquo;t see it that way,&quot; said Godfray. &quot;We believe libraries play a key role in promoting books and reading, and<br />that all the fantastic work that goes on in libraries significantly helps to develop a more literate society.&quot;<br /><br />His email came in response to a press release sent out last week by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, with <a href="../news/120668-andrew-motion-defends-libraries-against-cuts.html" target="_blank">chair and former poet laureate Andrew Motion highlighting the importance of the services.</a><br /><br />Miranda McKearney, director of The Reading Agency, supported Godfray&#39;s call for a combined approach, promising to use a House of Commons event being run this summer to launch this year&#39;s Summer Reading Challenge as an &quot;advocacy focus&quot; to brief MPs on the issue. &quot;But best of all would be finding a way to galvanise the public en masse to lobby their local authority,&quot; she said.<br /><br />Campaigner Desmond Clarke said he had received &quot;other messages of support for the idea of a forum of librarians, authors, readers, publishers and booksellers and campaign groups to work with the DCMS and DCLG to put across a powerful message to local authorities.&quot;<br /><br />Other stakeholders and library campaigners complained that though Motion&#39;s letter had been &quot;well-intentioned&quot;, the effort was &quot;puny&quot; and unlikely to result in any change in action from the local authorities.<br /><br />In particular, attention was drawn to the actions of the New York Library<br />director Paul LeClerc, who took his campaign to City Hall.</p>