Libraries play crucial role in communities | Letter

The peers John Bird and Graham Tope and the MP Gill Furniss call for library funding to be put on on a long-term, sustainable footing in the forthcoming budget

We were heartily encouraged by David Barnett’s article on Bradford council’s proposal to allocate part of its health and wellbeing budget to reducing the cuts to its libraries (Bradford puts money on libraries to boost city’s health, 17 February).

In October last year we hosted in parliament the launch of the report Public Libraries: The Case for Support, prepared by the libraries’ organisation Cilip and The Big Issue Group. It evidences the crucial role libraries play in our communities, from health and wellbeing through to education, business support and digital skills.

Bradford council’s proposal chimes in neatly with this recognition of the crucial, wide-ranging role libraries play in our communities.

But surely councils should not have to raid other parts of their budget to stop library closures, however “lateral thinking” this might be.

In The Case for Support, we called for funding for libraries to be restored to pre-austerity levels, and we are delighted that Libraries Deliver is orchestrating an End Libraries Austerity petition to be delivered to No 10 later this month – we urge people to visit the Libraries Deliver website and add their names.

The forthcoming budget is surely the ideal opportunity to put library funding on a long-term, sustainable footing.

Rishi Sunak endorsed the message that libraries are an essential part of our community when he was local government minister 18 months ago. Now that he is chancellor, we do hope he’ll deliver.
John Bird
Crossbencher, House of Lords
Graham Tope
Liberal Democrat, House of Lords
Gill Furniss MP
Labour, Sheffield Brightside
All-party parliamentary group for libraries

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition

Letters

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Bradford puts money on libraries to boost city's health
£700,000 could be diverted from Yorkshire council’s wellbeing budget to offset library cuts

David Barnett

17, Feb, 2020 @7:00 AM

Article image
Public libraries are life-affirming | Letters
Letters: Judith Daniels thanks her council for her wonderful local library, Keith McClellan looks at the role they play in democracy, and Keith Martin argues their closure is breaking the law

Letters

19, Jun, 2018 @4:53 PM

Article image
Communities needing libraries as much as ever | Letters
Letters: My local library is always ‘buzzing’ with children’s reading and singing groups, talks with writers, and drop-in sessions for people researching their family histories

Letters

25, Dec, 2016 @5:20 PM

Article image
The healing power of books and libraries
Letters: Libraries are a profound resource that can use bibliotherapy to support people with fragile mental health, writes John Duffy

Letters

07, Sep, 2020 @4:18 PM

Article image
How Bradford is setting health trends with study | Letters
Letters: Born in Bradford began in 2007 making the city one of the first in England to be able to monitor the health and wellbeing of its population in real time

Letters

08, May, 2018 @5:03 PM

Article image
Saving libraries from cuts is crucial, say UK readers in survey
Online survey reveals public opinion is strongly in favour of protecting the library service, as protests take place against closures in London

Alison Flood

13, Apr, 2016 @3:53 PM

Article image
Fresh hope for art loan schemes | Letters
Letters: Vivien Lovell recalls a picture loan scheme she introduced in Tower Hamlets in the late 70s, and Ros Napier says her library in Solihull also lent reproductions of famous art

Letters

21, Jan, 2018 @5:34 PM

Article image
The Guardian view on books for all: libraries give us power | Editorial
Editorial: Opening facilities for longer but without librarians is a mixed blessing, though still better than closing them, as we do in Britain

Editorial

17, Jun, 2018 @5:47 PM

Article image
With local libraries, it’s quality that matters, not quantity | Letter
Letter: James Powney on how London’s Brent borough improved opening hours and services

07, Dec, 2022 @5:52 PM

Article image
Christopher Chope was wrong to object to FGM bill | Letter
Letter: It is indefensible that courts have lesser powers to protect girls at risk of FGM than those at risk of forced marriage, writes barrister David Maddison

Letters

14, Feb, 2019 @6:10 PM