The Guardian 17.03.2016
Val McDermid and Ann Cleeves join JK Rowling to defend award-winning mobile library facing £25,000 cut
Major writers from Val McDermid to Ann Cleeves are lining up to fight for Orkney’s threatened mobile library, which brings books to readers in some of the UK’s most remote locations.
behind the scenes the service is being eroded
Travelling to the islands of Stronsay and Shapinsay, Longhope and Westray, and a host of other locations across Orkney’s mainland and isles, the mobile service is facing a reduction in funding of £25,000, after Orkney Islands council agreed to find £1.4m in savings following its own drop in funding. The council said today that this could mean “reducing visits to each destination served by the mobile library service to once every two months, rather than once a month as at present”.
Author Alison Miller, who grew up in Orkney, has launched a petition protesting against the cuts and calling on Orkney Islands council to maintain the service at its current level. It has already drawn the support of the writers McDermid, Cleeves, Louise Welsh and Lin Anderson, as well as hundreds of readers.
Pointing out that Orkney library has won both library of the year and librarian of the year, as well as landing a recent surprise visit from JK Rowling, who dropped in on its crime book club Saturday Slaughters, Miller writes in her petition that “behind the scenes the service is being eroded”.