Sunday, 23 January 2011

A heartening piece of news

You can't get away from libraries, even on this personal blog! I have been covering the movement against cuts and closures in Oxfordshire over on but this post is about a bit of good news.

I told on Radio Oxford a week or so ago and repeated at the Oxfordshire Anti-Cuts Alliance (OACA) meeting last week the story of my local secondary school. Council Leader Keith Mitchell made the fatuous suggestion that the public might use school libraries because "every secondary school in the county has one." I challenged this with the story about my local one.

Carterton Community college had a library but the Headteacher threw out all the books and installed IT equipment in the space. Now, I have nothing against IT equipment. I love my laptop, I blog, Tweet, use Facebook, Skype-text daily and generally embrace the new technology. (I have a Kindle too) But I also have books in every room of my house and owe my career as a writer largely to the free, well-stocked school and public libraries I encountered in my childhood and adolescence.

After the OACA meeting someone came up to me - and I'm cursing that I didn't catch her name - with a heart-warming story. What I had said about Carterton was true, she said, but that was done under a previous Head. Now they were re-stocking the library and re-opening it in September! I couldn't be more pleased.

No guesses where my review copies will be going in future!

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