The nationwide celebration of libraries and librarians that is to be National Libraries Day has been confirmed for Saturday 4th February.
Author Alan Gibbons of Campaign for the Book, a prime mover behind the initiative, said planning was now underway for the "positive and celebratory" day in 2012 which is set to feature "Libraries Open Late" with extended hours, a library membership campaign, and events held leading up to the day and on the day itself.
"Plans to close libraries have provoked huge protests, culminating in the February 5th Save Our Libraries day which saw 105 Read Ins across the country," Gibbons said. "This wave of protest has slowed the pace of closures with various moratoria in place. This does not mean the threat has gone away of course. Protest has made it hard to push through the most direct and swingeing cuts but the hydra of volunteer community libraries, closures, book fund cuts, staff redundancies and opening hour cuts is still writhing and twisting in area after area."
He added: "Let’s remember why libraries matter. The National Literacy Trust says that a child who visits a library is twice as likely to read well as one who does not. South Korea is top of the international reading rankings. It is opening 180 libraries. We are 25th. We are closing 400 . . . We need libraries more than ever to turn round the UK’s lamentable decline in its relative position in reading rankings. We must fight for them."
The planned day is being supported by the following organisations:
Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians
Campaign for the Book
The Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals
The Crime Writers Association
Federation of Children's Book Groups
The Library Campaign
The National Federation of Women's Institues
National Literacy Trust
National Union of Teachers
The People's Book Prize
Poetry Book Society
Public Library Online.com (part of Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Reading Agency
Royal National Institute of Blind People
School Library Association
The Society of Authors
The Society of Chief Librarians
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
Voices for the Library