We are authors, many of whom have attended the Northern Children’s Book Festival and other events in the region over many years. We have enjoyed the tremendous warmth and hospitality of young book lovers in the North East and the librarians and teachers who introduce them to the joy of reading.
We are therefore appalled to hear that council leaders are planning draconian cuts to the city’s libraries. The UK is 25th in the PISA international reading rankings. This is no time to cut libraries. It is the young and the elderly who disproportionately depend on branch libraries. The cost in educational underachievement would far outweigh any savings made by cuts.
It is not the role of a Labour council to act as a conduit for the coalition government’s ‘austerity’ cuts which disproportionately hit the poorest and most vulnerable.
We call on Newcastle’s councillors to reconsider this wrong and immoral course.
Malaika Rose Stanley
Five Leaves Publications