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www.chuukaku.com

Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of emerging and traditional technologies, research support in libraries, learning spaces, evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.



Letter to my MP re: library cuts in Nottinghamshire

January 27th, 2011

This is a copy of a letter I sent to my Conservative MP Anna Soubry. I wanted to share as I think this is a crucial issue (yes, even though I’m not a public librarian myself!) The government cuts are harming so many of our national treasures, and the public library service is one very close to my heart.

Dear Anna Soubry,

I’m writing to you about the threats to public libraries in Nottinghamshire. Recent news has revealed some small changes to the massive cuts proposed to the library service: a 50% cut in the book budget rather than a 75% cut and some smaller libraries no longer reduced to an 8 hour week http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-12277741. For an educational service which supports exactly those people educational services usually fail, these small concessions are good news, but cold comfort given the extent of the cuts going ahead.

As a librarian myself, I work in the academic sector with students and academic staff. Before I decided to go and work in academic libraries, I’ll admit I hadn’t stepped in a public library for years, although I loved them as a child. But as I studied for my postgraduate qualification in librarianship, I learnt more about the services that libraries offer – reading groups, community events, vital internet access for those who can’t afford their own connection. I found my interest revitalised. I joined my public library again.

By the time I moved to Beeston this September I was a born again public library user: joining the local library and heading down to pick up my first armful of books made me feel like I was truly a part of the community. I’ll be joining that community in our library in Beeston on the 5th February, at just one of a number of read-ins taking place across the country demonstrating the value of library services to the communities they serve.

If you’re wondering exactly what you, as an MP, can do, I’m sure you’ve been contacted by CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, with their guidelines on the questions MPs should ask about local library cuts and closures. In case it fell by the wayside, they’re available at http://www.cilip.org.uk/get-involved/advocacy/public-libraries/Pages/goodlibraries.aspx – they’re well worth reading.

Yours sincerely,

Katie Fraser

PS. I’m posting this on my personal library blog at www.chuukaku.com/blog as I think it’s important for this issue to gain as much exposure as possible. Please do let me know if you would like me to share any response in that forum.

5 Responses to “Letter to my MP re: library cuts in Nottinghamshire”

  1. Frank Daniels says:

    Katie,

    That’s a very clever letter and an even more clever tactic!! Let’s hope you get a valuable response.

    From a retired, but still angry CILIP member.

  2. Katie says:

    Thanks Frank: I’ll be sure to post any reply.

  3. Katie says:

    I did get a reply from my MP’s office about this, cc’ing in a letter she’d previously sent to the Cabinet Member for Culture and Community at Nottinghamshire County Council after questions had been raised by residents in Toton (their library was to be hit far harder than Beeston in the opening hours blitz). The office also forwarded my email to the relevant councillors.

    The reply was lengthy and not particularly heartening, insisting that locals had been consulted (my only experience of this was being offered the opportunity to fill in a form saying which opening hours I would like them to cut on a table in the library) and that they would be ‘actively discussing with groups the development of new types of
    community partnerships for the 28 smaller libraries’ which sounds like more ill-conceived Big Society volunteering hoo-hah to me.

    I haven’t copied the letters here as the email made no response about my blog post, or direct attempt to reply to this letter. The response felt a bit copy and paste and addressed general concerns about the library service in the area rather than my specific ones. Still, the more voices speaking out the better.

  4. Katie says:

    Just a quick update to say my MP has contacted me about meeting up for a meeting now… I’m trying to work out the details and will update when I do!

  5. […] up on my blog post last January, today I met with my local Conservative MP, Anna Soubry, to discuss public libraries. While the […]

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