Cardiff's 'strong message' on National Libraries Day

Cardiff's 'strong message' on National Libraries Day

Library campaigners in Cardiff believe they "sent a strong message" to the city council with a National Libraries Day protest against planned cuts to the service.

More than 200 people gathered outside the city's Central Library on Saturday (7th February) to hold a mass "read-in", with people reading passages of their favourite books and speaking about the importance of libraries in the city.

Rob Griffiths, chair of the Cardiff branch of the People's Assembly Against Austerity, which organised the protest alongside Unison, told The Bookseller that the demonstration "stuck a chord" with people in Cardiff.

"It was a really good day and we had a very good response from people," Griffiths said. "At its height we had more than 200 people there taking part, with many more members of public walking past and getting involved, showing their support. It really struck a chord with people. When you have a city like Cardiff which has had a strong service, people care about it."

He added: "There is a council meeting coming up, and we think we have sent a strong message. The indications we have heard is that they will look at their proposals and look to limit closures and cuts to opening hours."

In December last year Cardiff Council revealed plans to remove funding from six of the city's 20 libraries, while creating new "hubs" that combined libraries with other council services.

This weekend also saw protestors in Birmingham take a stand against proposed cuts to the city's flagship Library of Birmingham. The council has suggested cuts that could see 100 of the library's 188 staff made redundant, while opening hours halved. The £188m library only opened in September 2013.