Here’s the latest news on the Campaign for the Book, which is being driven by Alan Gibbons, author of Shadow of the Minotaur.
In his latest campaign newsletter, Alan tells us that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has finally published its review and that ‘there is no attempt to dilute the 1964 Libraries Act, which helped thwart Wirral’s attempt to close eleven of its libraries’. However, apart from some fine-sounding talk about ‘responding to the 24/7 culture’, Alan says there is little in the detail and, for him, too much talk about digitization, Starbucks and e-books.
As the report states, 81% of users go to the library to borrow a book. The healthiest area is children’s borrowing, which is rising at a time adult borrowing is struggling. 725,000 children took part in the Reading Challenge with 47,000 becoming new members. Meeting the needs of the core book-reading audience, and more importantly the potential book-reading audience, reaching them through marketing, seems to be a better bet than leaping headlong into a world of Facebook and cappuccinos.
As can be seen from the figures above, the maintenance of the school and public library system is of vital importance, particularly in helping to nurture young readers. You can get involved and support Alan’s campaign by going to the School Library Association (SLA) and signing their petition.