Today Lord John Bird and his fellow campaigners made headway in the fight to save Britain’s libraries by meeting with Westminster officials in a hard-won roundtable meeting.
In July the group, headed by Lord Bird and made up of prominent figures in the libraries community, was tasked with presenting solid, quantifiable evidence to politicians of the real-world impact libraries have on society if their quest for sustainable funding was to go any further.
And today they delivered: Libraries Minister Michael Ellis MP and Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak MP heard the testimonies of library users who agree that libraries are a vital public lifeline.
The meeting was hugely successful, with the evidence presented being extremely well-received by both the ministers and the other members of the libraries community. The politicians ultimately agreed to use their platform to take the cause forward.
Michael Ellis said: “They are the lifeblood of communities, and nothing is used by more people, from more diverse backgrounds, than our public libraries. We now need to convince other departments of the contribution that libraries can make to cross-government strategies – digital, internet security, civil society, integrated communities.
“It’s really important to continue to develop the most robust evidence base as possible on library impact, which will support the case Rishi and I are making to decision-makers in HM Treasury and elsewhere.”