Book lovers from around the world send their support to North Lanarkshire cause
CELEBRITIES from the literary world and far beyond have inundated a campaign to save a library in Newarthill with selfies supporting their efforts.
Newarthill library is scheduled to be closed in January 2017 by CultureNL, the arms-length quango of North Lanarkshire council, as part of a wider programme of cuts to local services.
Around 5000 signatures have already been gathered to support the library, and a host of celebrities including authors Damien Barr, Ian Rankin, Armistead Maupin, David Nicholls, Val McDermid, Matt Haig and Caitlin Moran have all backed the campaign.
The campaign organisers, mostly local parents concerned for their children’s access to books and other facilities, invited the public to show support over social media using the hashtag #savenewarthilllibrary, and were inundated with support from celebrities from author Diane Chamberlain to Glasgow Comedian Janey Godley.
Wow! Huge thanks to Diane Chamberlain for pledging her support, and also to my wee sister, Alexis Murphy, for organising it. Diane is an accomplished New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 24 novels published in over 20 languages. We are honoured and humbled that she cares enough about our wee library campaign to send this. #savenewarthilllibrary
Speaking to CommonSpace, campaign organiser Angie Walker, said: “The aim of our campaign is to Save Newarthill Library from closure. We feel that shutting public libraries, particularly in areas of deprivation with no other resources is morally wrong and completely unacceptable.
Here is the fabulous Costa shortlisted novelist Sarah Perry supporting #savenewarthilllibrary Taken at the amazing Gladstone's Library in Wales where our supporter Damian Barr has been writing this week! Update: on 01/12/16 Sarah won Waterstones Book of the Year for "The Essex Serpent". Well done Sarah!
“By raising awareness and engaging with members of our local community, and devising a campaign strategy which reaches around the globe, we hope to be able to convince CultureNL and North Lanarkshire Council that the facility should be kept open.
“CultureNL are keen for a community group to take over the building as part of a Community Asset Transfer and turn it into a volunteer-run hub. We don't want this to happen on the basis that a hub is not a library – we will have no trained librarian, access to new book stock, IT equipment.”
Today's international supporter from Beijing, China is also a celebrity! Hugh Reed formed cult band 'Hugh Reed and the Velvet Underpants' in the early 90s and they are still performing raucous gigs to this day. Hugh returns to Glasgow to perform with his Pants once a year. In China he performs regularly with 'Hugh Reed and the Electric Shadows'. Hugh is a brilliant songwriter and energetic performer. He has supported Blondie on tour and is a regular face on Chinese television, recently appearing in a movie with Jackie Chan. We are honoured to have him supporting the campaign to #savenewarthilllibrary
The campaign has received support from around the world, including China, Dubai and the US.
North Lanarkshire council is trying to implement a massive £42m of cuts to local services, whith hundreds of jobs at risk in the post-industrial region. The council was hit by a scandal earlier this week (27 November) when an investigation into allegations of corruption found a £20m overspend on council contracts.
There has been a mass closure of libraries in working class communities under UK Government austerity measures. Since 2010 343 libraries have been closed across the country.
Newarthill users’ musical protest against library closure
A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire council said: “Culture NL has been asked by the council to keep Newarthill library open the until the end of June.”
Due to a motion submitted by MSP SNP Richard Lyle, the plight of the library will be debated in the Scottish Parliament.
Picture courtesy of Tim Geers,
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