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John Bird to speak at a mass rally in support of libraries

"We have to fight for literacy, we have to protect libraries"
John Bird, founder of The Big Issue

Big Issue founder John Bird will speak at a mass rally outside the British Library in London this weekend in support of libraries.

Lord Bird, a vocal champion of literacy, will speak as part of The Big Issue’s commitment to libraries at Saturday’s National Libraries, Museums & Galleries demonstration.

He will call for chancellor Philip Hammond to include relief-funding for libraries in his autumn budget statement on November 23, and to support school libraries.

This comes as libraries across the country are gripped by a crisis of closures and cutbacks. Since 2010, 343 libraries have closed in Britain and around 8,000 paid and trained library workers have been lost.

Users, staff, campaigners and unions need to unite and fight before it’s too late

“We have to fight for literacy, we have to protect libraries,” said Lord Bird.

“This is a crisis and not an opportunity,” organisers said. “Users, staff, campaigners and unions need to unite and fight before it’s too late.

“PCS Culture Sector, Unite the Union, Barnet UNISON & Save Barnet Libraries, and Campaign for the Book have been calling for a national demonstration to highlight the “clear and present danger” to our national Library service. Support the protest on 5th November.”

The National Libraries, Museums & Galleries demonstration will assemble in the British Library car park and will make its way to the British Museum, Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery.

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Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Labour Party, also offered his support.

“The Tories have devastated our public services using austerity policies as justification,” he said. “I promise that a Labour Government will act to ‘in-source’ our public and local council services and increase access to leisure, arts and sports across the country. We will reverse the damage the Tories have done to our communities in the cities, towns and villages.”

See upcoming Big Issue magazines for more on our new campaign to address literacy problems and loss of libraries across the UK.