Around half of the British public agrees that local councils should protect libraries when making cuts to services and look to make savings elsewhere instead.
- 51% of the public thought that government funding for libraries should not be cut
- 36% disagreed, saying that, realistically, libraries would have to shoulder some of the burden of the cuts as they are a lower priority than other local council services
‘Save Our Libraries Day’
The results come in the wake of recent protests against many planned local library closures. Government funding cuts are said to be threatening over 500 libraries with closure amid claims that finite funds should be diverted elsewhere in the community, but such stringent cuts have been met with fierce opposition from residents and authors. Hundreds of people were involved in protests over news that five libraries would close in Lewisham, a south London borough, and similar protests were staged earlier this month for ‘Save Our Libraries Day’, including in Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and Surrey.
Public opposition does seem to be having an effect, with Northamptonshire abandoning plans to close four of its libraries and news that Goodmayes’ library in East London has been saved thanks to the efforts of protestors. Andre Gonzalez de Savage, a councillor for Northamptonshire, has recently dealt with a wealth of comments from local people that he feels demonstrates ‘the importance of local libraries and the role they play in supporting our communities’.