Val McDermid and Ian Rankin join attack on swingeing library cuts…

Scotland’s Fife council to close almost a third of its libraries, with further cuts being made across the UK

Alison Flood
The Guardian, 11 December 2015

Fife’s decision to close 16 of its libraries has been attacked by high-profile Scottish authors including Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, as well as by a group of Scottish National Party MPs.

I would not be a writer if it were not for the public library system

– Val McDermid

As a new report on the current state of the UK’s libraries reveals that more than 100 branches closed last year, a reduction of 14% in the total number of libraries since 2010, bestselling crime novelist McDermid called the situation in Fife “disgraceful”. The decision, announced earlier this week, will see the region’s libraries reduced from 51 branches to 35.

Crofton Park library in London

Crofton Park library in London, which is now run as a social enterprise. Photograph: Frank Baron for the Guardian

“What does this do to our culture?” said McDermid, who grew up in Fife. “We complain all the time about young people not reading books, but if we make it harder for them to get books, reading is not going to increase. Libraries are there for people who can’t afford books, or whose families don’t see any value in reading books.”

McDermid said that she grew up in a family with no money to spend on books. “Frankly, I would not be a writer if it were not for the public library system,” she said. “In Fife we have a library built with Andrew Carnegie’s money – those industrialists understood the value of educating people. These are the things we are losing. These are the things we are throwing away.”

Read the full article on the Guardian website…

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