Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson will be showing her support for libraries and independent bookshops with a UK-wide tour this autumn.
The Gruffalo author will visit 35 libraries from Thurso to Cardiff on a six-week trip beginning on 10th September, with further visits to Northern Ireland planned for next year.
Donaldson said: “Libraries are very close to my heart – not only do they provide a wonderful opportunity for adults and children to browse, borrow and engage with books, but they are also great community centres.
She added: “This tour is my way of celebrating libraries, to highlight all that they do and offer – from lively baby and toddler Rhymetimes and book club discussions to calm spaces for study and contemplation – and to protest against the cuts and closures which are threatening so many of them.”
As well as using dramatisations in the libraries, she will also visit bookshops to emphasise the links between bookshops, libraries and schools, and promoting a new website encouraging teachers to use picture books as a springboard for drama in the classroom.
Author and libraries campaigner Alan Gibbons, said he welcomed the Children's Laureate's tour. “The public library service is one of the most civilising institutions in the UK giving communities a shared space where they can read, research and meet. Sadly, in difficult times, we can't take our libraries for granted,” he said.
Gibbons added: “In the last year 125 were lost or removed from council control. Another 244 are currently under threat. Julia's wonderful initiative can remind us of the importance of libraries and remind everyone that you have to use it or you just could lose it.’