The support for National Libraries Day, which took place on Saturday (6th February) and saw communities across the UK participate in more than 850 events, was "truly inspirational" and featured endorsements from authors and illustrators Sir Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen and Sarah McIntyre.
According to statistics from The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) - which organised the day along with the Society of Chief Librarians, the School Library Association and The Reading Agency - this year's National Libraries Day saw 857 events celebrating the British public library network, which is up from 720 events last year. Libraries and supporters used the hashtags #LibrariesDay and #NationalLibrariesDay, which trended throughout the day.
“This National Libraries Day was the biggest yet with more events and more conversations on social media celebrating our wonderful public libraries," Nick Poole, c.e.o. of CILIP, said. "The outpouring of love for our national network of libraries on Saturday was truly inspirational. It’s an important moment to celebrate all the creative, transformation and unexpected things that happen when you step into a library. The vital importance of modern libraries to families and communities across the UK came through over and over again.”
Laura Swaffield from The Library Campiagn said she thought National Libraries day had "really taken off this year".
"I believe publishers are getting more involved too." She added: "It's very poignant, of course, because libraries - just as they show how vital they are - are also in the worst danger they have ever been in."
Barnet’s borough-wide social media campaign to mark the day saw visitors using the #ShowUsYourLibraryCard with many photographing themselves with their library cards, including author and poet Michael Rosen. Photographer Rachel Pulton has set up an exhibition at Worthing Library in West Sussex featuring photos celebrating community groups getting together in libraries, from 'Baby Rhyme Time' groups to 'Knit and Natter' (left).
The day also saw multiple anti-cuts protests, with crowds gathering in Lambeth at the Carnegie Library to protest the library being transformed into a fee-charging gym (below), and Upper Norwood Joint Library, which the council is planning to make a “much reduced” service and turn over to community trust.
Arts Council England also organised a letter campaign to support National Libraries Day, with figures in the media including celebrity chef Nadiya Hussain, British astronaut Tim Peake and authors Ann Cleeves and Meg Rosoff, asked to write love letters to libraries which can be read here.
ACE has also recently announced plans to provide further investment of £540,000 to develop library services across England.
Following the celebrations and support of National Libraries Day, tomorrow (Tuesday 9th February) will see the Speak Up For Libraries coalition's lobby of parliament which will see MPs lobbied to sign an Early Day Motion supporting libraries, acknowledge the importance of public libraries, call on the government to do its job by producing statutory guidance, and call on local authorities to ensure adequate funding for libraries. "Politicians have got to wake up to what's happening," Swaffield said.
The day will start with a morning rally at Central Hall, Westminister, with video, songs and a line-up of authors and campaign speakers. From 1pm, with advice and guidance from the lobby people will head off to meet their own MPs.
Tickets are free and can be booked here.
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