Former Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo, has voiced his support for the campaign to keep Sutton Coldfield library service open.
He met with members of the children’s book group run out of Sutton Coldfield library last year, and on hearing of the plans announced by the city council to close the library, he said this:
‘It the right of all children, regardless of ability to pay, to have access to the knowledge and understanding they will need in their lives. Libraries can provide this. Libraries do for the intellectual and emotional development, what hospitals do for body and mind. To deprive children of their right to knowledge and understanding is to deny them their future.
No council anywhere should be closing libraries. Changing them, improving them, modernising them? Perhaps, yes. Literacy and a love of reading is key to a child’s success in life, to her or his pursuit of happiness.
To close a library, is to close minds, to close minds is to cut off opportunity, to deny hope, to shrivel the imagination. If we shut libraries, we cut off the oxygen of knowledge and understanding, and thereby impoverish the lives of children. A closed library breeds closed minds. We know this. So let us all, children, councillors, parents, teachers, librarians, writers and illustrators, everyone, do our utmost to keep our libraries – including a service in Sutton Coldfield – open.’
Michael Morpurgo’s support comes as The Library Lobby, a local community group campaigning both to raise awareness of the city council’s proposals for future library provision, and to develop a viable alternative proposal to keep a vibrant library service in the centre of Sutton Coldfield stepped up their activities, with a launch of a website (thelibrarylobby.org.uk), twitter account (@thelibrarylobby), and plans for a public demonstration in Sutton town centre on December 10.
The Library Lobby is actively seeking the engagement of the local business community, as well as inviting all other interested parties to get in touch (via facebook or twitter, initially) with constructive suggestions about how a lively, well-resourced and widely used library service might be embedded in the future life of Sutton Coldfield.
Members of the public who would like to get involved in campaigning and developing a plan (in conjunction with the city council and the town council) for future library provision, including a home for the much valued local history archive, vital free internet access and support for families and children in in Sutton town centre are invited to contact email firstname.lastname@example.org for details of their next planning meeting on Monday 28 November.