SAVE SOMERSETâ€™S LIBRARIES
and the Campaign for the Book
Dear Head Teacher
As you are no doubt aware, Somerset County Council is considering proposals to withdraw funding from 20 of its 34 libraries.
The campaign to Save Somersetâ€™s Libraries exists simply to ask the County Council to reconsider its proposals and to suggest alternative models for making cuts without closing libraries. It has no affiliation to any political party.
Whether or not the library nearest your school is one of those being considered for closure, we believe that every parent in Somerset should be concerned about the effect these proposals will have on their children.
- The public library service is a vital adjunct to the school library, performing an essential service in promoting reading outside school hours and, with its programme of reading challenges, over the summer holidays.
- Many children who use the library for study and homework will be denied this vital facility. This is especially true of those whose families cannot afford to travel to the nearest functioning library. According to a recent survey, one million children in the UK have no access to computers at home: and of those who do, a further million have no access to the Internet.
- At a time of increasing concern over literacy and the decline of reading for pleasure, it is disastrous for the County Council to consider library closures, thereby sending a signal to our children that reading and the quest for knowledge are irrelevant.
To highlight these concerns, Save Somersetâ€™s Libraries is asking every school in Somerset to join a Read In campaign in the weeks leading up to the crucial meeting of the Somerset County Council cabinet on February 2nd.
Please join this initiative and encourage everyone in your school community to participate as fully as possible. YOUR SUPPORT IS VITAL.
The programme will begin on Monday 24th January.
The idea of a Read In is that members of the community, of all ages and backgrounds, come together to share their love of reading.
All participants in a Read In event will be encouraged to bring along a copy of their favourite book, story or poem, and to read it, or have it read on their behalf.
- In schools, Read In activities might be classroom based, with half a day being set aside for sharing favourite stories, poems or extracts from books, fiction or non-fiction.
- These may be read by the pupils themselves or by their teacher, teaching assistant or LSA.
- These activities might be introduced or celebrated in a special assembly.
- It may be possible, in a few schools, for Save Somerset Libraries to offer a local author or storyteller to lead an event. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org with requests.
- Pupils can be encouraged to hold impromptu Read In sessions during lunchtimes or breaks.
- Your school might also consider holding an evening event, perhaps organised by the PTFA, where pupils, parents, friends and governors meet to share a love of reading.
- Whatever form your schoolâ€™s event(s) take(s), we hope you will contact your local media to publicise both the event and your support for the libraries as widely as possible.
- We hope that your local community will additionally be able to hold Read Ins at appropriate venues, and that where schools become aware of these they will encourage staff, pupils and parents to go along.
Additionally we hope that your school will encourage parents and children to write to Councillor Ken Maddock and Councillor Christine Lawrence expressing their feelings about the proposed library closures.
Their address is:
Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4DY
You can also help by writing to your ward councilor and constituency MP.
The current County Council members were elected for four years as custodians of our public services. We do not believe it is for them to take it upon themselves willfully to destroy a service that has been built up over generations.
If we allow our libraries to close,
we will never get them back.
Please support the
Save Somerset Libraries campaign.
Libraries change lives.
(But only as long as they remain open.)