On the libraries march through this constituency on Saturday I was invited to speak. At East Barnet library (half way between the two school sites of East Barnet School which I attended last millennium) I said this:
Here’s a quote from Andrew Motion about libraries.
Andrew Motion (former Poet Laureate and President of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) said:
“Libraries are fountains of knowledge, and essential for that reason alone. But they are also centres of the communities in which they exist – a vital and vitalising part of the social fabric. To neglect or damage a library is to neglect or damage the health of the country itself.”
The first time I ever attended a public meeting I was a teenager. It was upstairs in North Finchley library. It was in the evening. A big meeting room was given over to an audience with a bigwig politician. The debate went way over my head, but that night I was educated in the etiquette of public engagement; in how politicians and their constituents talk to each other.
I was educated in what democracy looks like – in how the elected representative is accountable to the voter face-to-face and in public! On the record.
When they close our libraries that is what they are shutting down.
Do you suppose we can have a meeting like that: eyeballing a cabinet member in a library full of shelves that is only 540 square feet?
Make no mistake –
They know what they are doing.
Where are they? Where is Theresa today? She said she supported libraries
But in reality –
What do we see?
Shrinkage and shutting – and we won’t have it!