Sheffield City Council has informed Library Workers For A Brighter Future that a planned event at Upperthorpe Library, a children’s creative writing workshop to be run by poet, broadcaster and comedian, Ian McMillan, will not be allowed to go ahead due to concerns over possible ‘political comments’.
The event, conceived as a fun and creative way of highlighting the value of public libraries, appears to have caused great concern for the council, with the decision over whether it should be allowed to go ahead passed all the way up to senior management.
We view this as a misguided and heavy-handed attempt to silence those of us who want to stand up for our library service and oppose the potentially devastating public sector cuts.
Libraries are a vital and irreplaceable part of a cultured and civilised society, and one of the few public places left where you don’t have to pay to get in.
In Sheffield it is proposed that the library budget of £8.5m should be cut by £2.5m by 2013/14, ie by £1.4m in 2011/12 and £550,000 in 2012/13 and 2013/14.
There are no current plans in Sheffield to close libraries but cuts on this scale will inevitably have a major impact on the quality of the service.
As a campaigning organisation we are keen to work with the council wherever possible to highlight the good work libraries do in our communities.
This lack of cooperation on even such a simple thing as a children’s creative writing workshop leaves us with little option but to pursue other ideas.
Saturday, February 5 is the national day of action for libraries (www.cilip.org.uk/news-media/Pages/news110125.aspx) and Library Workers For A Brighter Future would like to invite everybody to a mass ‘Shhhh!’-in at 11am at Sheffield Central Lending Library, on Surrey Street.
n Finger to lips.
n At 11am say ‘Shhhhh!’
n Finish off with three cheers for the library!
n Borrow lots of books – let’s empty those shelves. You’re allowed to borrow up to 15, so bring a big bag!
Library Workers For A