Statements of support

Ruth Bond, Chair of NFWI

At the 2011 NFWI AGM, WI members confirmed their support for local library services and pledged their commitment to fight to support maintenance of local library provision.  With many of our libraries under real threat it is time to start speaking up for libraries and the key role they play in promoting shared knowledge and equality of opportunity, facilitating community cohesion and enabling life-long learning and literacy from cradle to grave.

The NFWI is committed to championing our libraries and librarians.  We applaud the positive work of Voices for the Library in sharing the value of our library system and telling the stories of our public libraries.

Martha Lane Fox, Race Online 2012

Public libraries have a vital role to play in supporting the ambition to secure a truly networked nation in the UK. They are not only digital hubs which provide people with access to free or low cost PCs but also have a role in supporting people to get online and explore all the benefits that being online brings.

Biddy Fisher MLib FCLIP, CILIP President 2010

Voices for the Library ‘Public libraries: supporting the freedom, prosperity and development of society and the individual.’

Every so often something comes along that forces you to take a different perspective on things you take for granted. This is what happened when the ‘Voices for the Library’ initiative came to my attention.

As the President of CILIP* I value the way that organisation has worked tirelessly in formal ways to bring to the attention of society the fantastic work that Librarians do in their everyday roles in reader development, systems development, user assistance, information organisation and implementing a range of specific services for specific user groups. ‘Voices for the Library’ gives that critically important work a different perspective by providing the views of the communities of users for whom Librarians and Information Professionals work, It does it via Twitter, Facebook Delicious and the ubiquitous web. ‘Voices’ fills a gap in a way that complements the goals and aims of CILIP. I am very pleased that the Trustees of CILIP Council support the approach from Voices for the Library enabling the President to endorse this new and innovative approach to giving voice in support of Public Libraries.

*CILIP is the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. It is the professional body for library and information specialists in the UK and is incorporated by Royal Charter. It has over 18,000 members working in all parts of the UK economy.

Janice Lachance, SLA* CEO

As SLA’s Chief Executive Officer, I’m proud to fully support the Voices for the Library campaign. Too few people appreciate the commitment, hard work, and skills that public librarians display in their jobs on a daily basis. A world without public libraries is a world without well-organized, free-flowing, professionally delivered information that stimulates the young and old reader. A strong and lively public library is a bolster to any community, and I’m so pleased to find that someone is making such admirable effort to preserve its place in society. The strength and cohesiveness of our global village depends on keeping our public libraries funded, protected, and preserved.

Kate Arnold, President of SLA Europe:

SLA Europe* is delighted to support ‘Voices for the Library’ as we recognise the importance of effective communication of librarians’ and information professionals’ skills and values, whichever sector they’re working in.

*The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a global organisation for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners. SLA has about 10,000 members worldwide, and SLA Europe provides information professionals in Europe with unique networking and learning opportunities through regular meetings and events

Sandeep Mahal, Senior Project Manager with the Reading Agency says:

I think we must do as much as we can to campaign for libraries, using our assets/USP and position ourselves, alongside other passionate supporters, such as Voices for the Library”

Libraries are a symbol and guarantor of a democratic society. They impart knowledge. They exchange stories. They remind us of the potential of our human identity. No society which wants to see itself as civilized should seriously contemplate questioning the continued existence of a publicly funded library service.

Alan Gibbons, Organizer, Campaign for the Book:

Voices for the Library puts forward positive arguments for libraries and properly trained and supported librarians. It should have the enthusiastic support of everyone who believes knowledge is power and art and literature should exist for their own sake.

In the words of Joni Mitchell: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Professor Dick Hartley
Director, Institute for Humanities and Social Science Research
Manchester Metropolitan University

“Public libraries are essential components of a civilised society. They provide a non-threatening location where anyone has the freedom to explore ideas whether for education or entertainment. Never have they been more important than in the Internet era. Libraries provide access to the vast resources of the Internet to those who are not fortunate enough to have that access at home. It is significant that the founder of no less an IT company than Microsoft views public libraries as crucial to the twenty first century. Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he is ploughing money into the support of public libraries. Anyone who doubts the importance of public libraries as a community asset which can encourage creativity, provide information and new skills within its community should take a look at the activities of Veria Public Library in northern Greece (
They cannot fail to be inspired by the example this library is setting.

Rachel Van Riel
Opening the Book

“Most organisations claim more than they deliver. The public library is one of the very few which actually delivers far more than it claims. This is largely down to the skills of trained staff. Where else can you access expertise without jumping through hoops? Find unbiased information? Discover great reads you would never have thought of choosing?

What a librarian does is important and magical and endangered. Knowledgeable, tactful, non-judgmental – every day, all over the country, librarians are helping tens of thousands of people to get more out of life. Library staff are modest people and don’t usually push themselves forward. They put the needs of others before their own – the concept of service is engraved in their hearts. So it’s time the rest of us stood up and shouted for them.”

Barbara Sen, MA Librarianship Programme Co-ordinator. University of Sheffield

“Public libraries are at the heart of many of our communities, and should continue to have that place. The leisure and educational services they provide for everyone who wishes to take advantage would leave a huge gap in the fabric of our society if they ceased to exist. I am so often inspired by library staff when I hear of the innovative ways in which they go about their work, and they are constantly widening the ways they engage with people in their local communities. We should do everything we can to ensure that our public library services continue to offer a wide and every changing range of services to meet social needs.”

CILIP CSG Information Literacy group

The CILIP CSG Information Literacy group believe that public libraries (like all libraries) have a huge role to play in developing an individual’s information literacy skills, so that they can make informed choices and be an active member of society. Therefore we endorse Voices for the Library for its advocacy of Public Library services in the UK.

Andrew Jones MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough.
“I would like to offer Voices for the Library my wholehearted support. The website provides a wealth of information to help in our campaigns to stop cuts to local library services. Libraries are at the heart of many communities. There are examples of local authorities that have preserved their library services and we need to do all we can to ensure that other local authorities follow suit.”

Nicky Whitsed, Director of Library Services, The Open University

Libraries are an integral part of ensuring that everyone in our communities has access to a world of resources that inspire our imagination, enable our learning and the development of our culture.

In many communities libraries are the only freely accessible place of learning and culture where all members of society – including the unemployed, the elderly and the poor – can spend time engaged with knowledge, learning and personal growth. Every day libraries are continuing to push boundaries, create new opportunities and open new doors in how we interact with ideas and with each other. They support many groups in our society.

The Open University’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. Libraries are important not only to the learning experience of students, but they enable the development and support individual and community potential.

The Open University is proud to support Voices for the Library.

6 thoughts on “Statements of support

  1. Zoe Elizabeth Morgan

    I live on the Isle of Wight where currently the Council are threatening to close 5 libraries, make a further 9 part-time for the next year and possibly close them next year. They say the only viable alternative is to make them a voluntary organisation. There have been public meetings and the general consensus seems to me to be greatly opposed to any change whatsoever. At a time in this country where there is massive complacency about so many political and community issues, this fight has picked up great pace amongst Islanders who are outraged at the proposal of such undemocratic ideas.


  2. Paul Ward

    “the only viable alternative is to make them a voluntary organisation” and label it The Big Society Working, probably – and yes, the “Working” is meant to be sarcastic. Anybody who assumes that volunteers can match the hours, never mind the skills, of librarians doesn’t deserve to have control of a dog pound, let alone a local authority budget.

    Still, in a few years time the Telegraph wil be justified in its standard articles on how poorly Britain’s children read – the poor little sods won’t even know what the word means.


  3. Graham Benson

    Don’t listen to those councillors and politicians who tell us that if libraries stay open other vital services will be lost……they have to deal with that issue by insisting that central government continue to support the very bedrock of civilised society and not disenfranchise this and future generations of our children by denying them free access to books and other important local library activities. It is inconceivable to those of us who learnt about life and literature from our early visits to libraries which continue for the rest of our lives that they are to be ditched by thoughtless and philistine national and local government fiscal policies.. My mother, 95 today, still vists her local branch every week ! I want my grandchildren to be able to do the same so does everyone else I talk to ….this is a deeply unpopular move. G.B.


  4. Steph Spiers

    Libraries are not only about signing out free books – they are places for social interaction by vulnerable groups. They house writers’ groups for senior citizens and reading book clubs, they hold computer courses for silver surfers and story telling for pre-school groups whose mums need a break.
    They have free internet access for those looking for work and space to do homework for kids with difficult homelives. Their free computers keep dozens of bored kids off the streets during the holidays.
    I use my local library every week and I have seen all the above things happening in my library. Staffordshire calls its library service, YOUR LIBRARY – and that is what it feels like. We’ve been spared so far but I expect next year that we too will be on the streets with our banners.
    Typical of grasping politicians to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.


  5. Pingback: Support from Andrew Jones MP |

  6. Pingback: New UK: Reasons for Public Libraries – Stephen's Lighthouse

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