Friday, 8 September 2017

Save Hari by Keren David

There's more than one way to destroy a library service.

In the London borough of Haringey, where I live, the Labour Council has a much better record than many councils at keeping libraries open. And they are well used. At exam time my kids go to Hornsey or Wood Green libraries to study, along with many other local teenagers. Lots of writers use them to work in. And there's a particularly good service for children.

Or at least there was.

Now Haringey plans to get rid of all of its five designated children's librarians. They will no longer be anyone in a specialist role to advise young readers,  pick books and organise events for young people. 

Instead the current children's librarians will be given generalist roles. And spending on new books has been cut as well.

This is, of course, not only the fault of the council, which struggles with the government's austerity cuts. But it is, I believe, a short-sighted and deeply damaging policy, which will hit the youngest and poorest members of Haringey's community the hardest. 

Tomorrow there's a day of action being held to protest the changes at Wood Green library.
More than sixty authors have signed a letter in the local press. 

You can find out more here

I hope that protests and letters can persuade the council to think again. 


Sue Bursztynski said...

What has been happening in your public libraries is devastating! I've heard about all the closures in the UK. that isn't happening here, as far as I know, but state school libraries in Victoria are being destroyed to save money since schools were given global budgets and principals found it easier to scrap libraries and teacher librarians than classroom teachers. How can children become enthusiastic readers who will go to public libraries if they don't have a library at school? Private schools, of course, still have staffing and money to buy books and run writers festivals and such, although with teacher librarian courses closing down, even they will have to find their staff elsewhere. It makes me fume, though, to think that students like mine, in working class areas, will have nothing while the children of the middle class can still have what should be a right, not a privilege. (Last week, I took some kids from my disadvantaged school to the Melbourne Writers Festival, to hear a popular writer, because it was cheaper than having a guest speaker, and an enjoyable day out for them)

Final Day At The Writers Festival

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