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To: West Berkshire Council

Save West Berkshire libraries

Please don't close down the libraries in West Berkshire, including the mobile library vans.

Why is this important?

Public libraries are currently under attack as never before. Quite apart from the imperatives of cutting council spending, some people question the point of public libraries. With the advent of the internet and the ebook, public libraries are described as out-dated and of being a luxury we cannot afford when other services are facing financial pressure. However, “The National Literacy Trust says that children who go to a library are twice as likely as those who don’t to read well. It is not just picking up a book. It is the social experience of reading, talking about the books, browsing, comparing what you have read with family and friends. Librarians open doors to new worlds, new possibilities. Children and adults do not just need information to thrive as thinking beings, but stories. Libraries are not in decline because of some natural, historic progression, but because of the monstrous cultural vandalism of savage cost-cutting." (Alan Gibbons)
The community aspect of libraries, including storytimes/rhymetimes and free picture books is especially important for new mothers and their children. For many children the library is the only place they will ever be physically engaged with all the possibilities there are on the shelves. “That is why many small children’s activities are based in library buildings, a resource not to be found or replicated anywhere else. Having a space where the sole purpose is to engage with words and pictures, to create memories that last a lifetime, is a delight and not to be given away lightly.” (Ann Chambers) Even leaving aside books, the lack of access to the internet can reduce exam results by a grade. Public libraries can provide that access to children who do not have it at home.
Borrowing of children’s books is increasing.
Education is for adults and senior citizens too – senior citizens use libraries for education (notably, the U3A), students for quiet study, those new to computers for computer training.
Libraries offer everyone a safe place to meet others, to use resources they could not otherwise afford and to strengthen the local community. The long-term effect of closing our libraries for a short-term monetary gain would be catastrophic for our towns and villages.
West Berkshire

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2016-02-17 17:29:58 +0000

I quote from an email from my MP's PPS -
" In any case, the local funding reductions represent a choice by the council. Mr Redwood is strongly of the view that the council should be looking to make savings from its largest costings (personnel, buildings and office functions) rather than in frontline services. There is no reason for the council to cut any frontlines, should they wish not to do so. They also have the option, should they wish, of increasing council tax (I am not necessarily advocating this, but simply explaining that it is an option)

There are already several senior on the council who earn salaries in excess of £100,000. More could be done to cut the senior officer wage bill, without effecting ordinary staff. The council could also look to merge more back office services by amalgamating these with other councils. In other words, the council does have choice over what they wish to cut."

2016-02-14 23:19:57 +0000

Hi everyone, tomorrow the formal consultation on the closure of 8 West Berks libraries and two mobile libraries begins. Completing this will be the most effective way of making your feelings heard by our elected councillors. This is the most important thing you can do.

If possible get every member of your household to complete and submit the document, even youngsters.

The consultation is only open for 3 weeks so don't delay. The link will open at 0900 tomorrow, Monday. Give as many reasons as you can why libraries are important, both personal and general.

Go to

Forward this on to as many people as you wish.

2016-02-11 10:46:36 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2016-02-10 20:31:15 +0000

500 signatures reached

2016-02-10 18:07:17 +0000

100 signatures reached

2016-02-10 09:57:47 +0000

50 signatures reached

2016-02-09 18:48:18 +0000

25 signatures reached

2016-02-09 16:39:22 +0000

10 signatures reached