It’s the demonstration every library and museums campaigner has been calling for and now it’s on. The march takes place on Saturday 5 November 2016 in London. It will start from the iconic British Library and end outside the House of Commons for a rally. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is supporting the protest, as are a number of unions, including WGGB.
WGGB Chair Gail Renard said: “Without libraries, galleries and museums; art, culture and learning belong solely to the elite. These are our national treasures. Let’s not wait until they’re all gone till we see how diminished our country is.”
Public libraries and museums remain the linchpin of communities, offering access to learning, reading, history, art, information and enjoyment. Libraries play a crucial role in improving literacy, in combating the digital divide and in widening democratic involvement. But, in the UK since 2010, we have lost:
• 8,000 paid and trained library workers;
• 343 libraries (600-plus including ones that have been handed to volunteers);
• One in five regional museums have been at least partially closed.
We have also seen:
• Libraries’ and museums’ opening hours cut;
• Budgets, education programmes and mobile/housebound/specialist services slashed;
• An escalation in commercialisation and privatisation;
• A 93% increase in the use of volunteers in libraries;
• Income generation become the priority for almost 80% of museums.
Jeremy Corbyn said: “I give my 100% support to this demonstration. The Tories have devastated our public services using austerity policies as justification. I promise that a Labour Government will act to ‘in-source’ our public and local Council services and increase access to leisure, arts and sports across the country. We will reverse the damage the Tories have done to our communities in the cities, towns and villages.”
Find out more about the demonstration.
Read an open letter sent by West Midlands TUC Creative & Leisure Industries Committee (CLIC) to Coventry City Council about cuts to local libraries and museums.