Campaign group Voices for the Library to close

Campaign group Voices for the Library to close

Campaign group Voices for the Library is to disband due to the pressures of the workload on its members.

The group, which counts Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and author Julia Donaldson among its supporters, was created in 2010 to speak out and fight against the "assault" on public libraries caused by deep cuts to the sector.

In a statement posted on the Voices for the Library website, the group said: "Unfortunately, we ourselves are volunteers running an organisation in our spare time. We are unhappy to say that we can no longer undertake the work required to be a voice for public libraries. It is with great sorrow that we have decided that it’s time to close the doors on Voices for the Library. The irony of this is not lost on us.

"As libraries are increasingly forced onto local community groups to run them on a so-called voluntary basis (there is nothing “voluntary” about it), we are clear that there is only so much volunteers can do before reality hits and the service starts to fall apart at the seams. Volunteer run libraries are, in essence, a disaster waiting to happen for the people that rely on their local public library service (and it is theirs, not the councillors)."

In its seven years of campaign activity, the group has supported campaigns at a national and local level, participated in the Speak Up For Libraries coalition to develop solidarity across the UK, given media interviews in response to library cuts to give voice to library users and library workers, and has been involved in discussions with ministers, including giving evidence at a Select Committee hearing, to lend its expertise and inform policy.

The group emphasised that the end of the campaign "does not mean the end of the fight". It said: "Individually we will continue to speak up for libraries and defend them in the face of an ideology that threatens all of our public services", the group said. "We will continue to support and give voice to the fight not only for libraries, but against a crippling economic obsession by politicians and large swathes of the media that is irreparably damaging our public services."

Voices for the Library was run by Gary Green, technical librarian at Surrey County Council Library Service; Ian Clark, library systems officer at Canterbury Christ Church University; Lauren Smith, PhD researcher at the University of Strathclyde; and Tom Roper, clinical librarian for Brighton and Sussex NHS Library and Knowledge Service and founding member of The Library Campagin. Former members of Voices for the Library include Phil Bradley, Ian Anstice and Alan Wylie.