John Harris

Journalist & Author

How will the cuts affect our libraries? | John Harris

Tell us your experience of how government policy is threatening the future of libraries across the country

Anywhere but Westminster, our new series of films and articles, is now on the verge of its second instalment. Just to recap: at such a watershed time for Britain, our aim is to explore the gap between politics and the country at large, and focus on how big themes – the cuts, the lingering effects of recession – are playing out on the ground.

Last time, we went to my home town of Frome and explored its struggling economy. This time, we want to focus on the library closures that are happening all over the country. This subject came up when we first asked for ideas – JoshTS, for example, shared some compelling information on library cuts in Wandsworth, south London – and it chimes with things I’ve written in the recent past (have a look here and here). The threat to libraries pre-dates the coalition and has already resulted in a couple of very high-profile cases – not least in Wirral, where the local council proposed to close 11 libraries, before the then culture secretary, Andy Burnham, intervened.

There seem to be two recurrent themes: either straightforward closure, or the handing of libraries to volunteers – which causes a lot of people no end of concern.

Anyway, we’d like to know: where should we go? Who should we speak to? And how important do you feel our remaining libraries are?

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