Help The Big Issue tell the Government how to save libraries from closure

Lord John Bird will be presenting hard, quantifiable evidence on sustainable funding at a library roundtable meeting later this month – we need your experiences, anecdotes and stories about how libraries have given you a hand-up

The Big Issue battle to save libraries is heading straight to the heart of Westminster.

In July, the great and good from the libraries community – including the government’s Libraries Taskforce, library information and association CILIP, Local Government Association, Arts Council England and British Library – attended a roundtable meeting to discuss a sustainable funding method to keep libraries open for the long-term.

A total of 816 centres have closed their doors since 2010 and they continued to be under threat with cash-strapped councils looking to tighten belts wherever they can.

A follow-up roundtable is pencilled in for October 30 where Big Issue founder Lord John Bird – who’s leading the charge – will be presenting hard, quantifiable evidence to Libraries Minister Michael Ellis MP and Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak MP.


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But the numbers alone are not enough. We know how much of a role libraries play in boosting literacy skills and giving those in poverty a crucial hand-up. From health and wellbeing, digital skills, social mobility and combatting loneliness, the social echo from libraries is vast.

So, just in time for Libraries Week, we’re asking for you to tell us why libraries are so important to you. We want you to send us your anecdotes and experiences about how libraries have helped, and continue to help you, and we’ll tell the government.

Themes to consider writing about include:

  • Place-shaping and inclusive economic growth
  • Education, informal learning and skills
  • Health, wellbeing and social care
  • Digital skills and getting online
  • Enterprise and business support
  • Poverty, social mobility and social isolation

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