Plan for industry-wide message on libraries

<p>An ambitious plan to bring library bodies, author societies, book trade groups and campaigners together to deliver a united message to local authority leaders about the importance of the public library service was being finalised this week. </p><p>Letters are set to go out shortly to all council chiefs stressing why libraries matter, in an attempt to mitigate potentially drastic cuts to the service after the Comprehensive Spending Review on 20th October.</p><p>Library campaigner Desmond Clarke said the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) would lead the way in sending out the letters, with confirmed support from The Society of Authors, The Royal Society For Literature and the Campaign for the Book. </p><p>The Publishers Association, The Booksellers Association and The Reading Agency have also been approached to support the message, with &ldquo;positive feedback,&rdquo; according to Clarke, while the leadership of trades union UNISON told Clarke they would work &ldquo;in parallel&rdquo; with the venture, advising its members of the group&rsquo;s message.</p><p>&ldquo;We are trying to bring everyone together on the same page and get as broad a range of signatories as we possibly can,&rdquo; Clarke said. &ldquo;Everybody now seems keen to give their support, and everyone agrees with the substance of what we are saying. We realise that we have to get the message out there very soon and I&rsquo;m feeling very optimistic that we are going to get there. It will be a major step forward.&rdquo; </p><p>Mark Le Fanu, chair of the Society of Authors, commented that the pro-library message going out to local authority leaders &ldquo;struck me as being unarguable.&rdquo;</p><p>The MLA declined to comment.</p>