Donaldson: Gloucs/Somerset ruling "best news all year"

Donaldson: Gloucs/Somerset ruling "best news all year"

Children's laureate Julia Donaldson has welcomed yesterday's High Court ruling against library closures in Gloucestershire and Somerset as "the best news I’ve had all year".

In a statement given to Somerset group Watchet Library Friends, Donaldson hailed the ruling "a triumph for the all those committed campaigners, for libraries, and for common sense".

But she added: "While it is admirable that the residents of Gloucestershire and Somerset were determined, organised and brave enough to go down the route of litigation, it is shameful that they had to do so. This costly process could have been avoided if the councils had listened to the arguments and above all if the government had fulfilled its statutory requirement to superintend library services."

Donaldson said that she echoed the judge's decision that the removal of public library services from the most disadvantaged members of the community was unfair, and also wanted to emphasis the unfairness of taking libraries away from children. "Where else nowadays can they find a range of physical books which they can handle and choose from and borrow free of charge, thus forming their tastes in reading?" she asked.

"Our child readers are our future adult readers. Do we want a nation of non-readers? No, of course not—but again, that is common sense, something which it appears we have to fight for."