Open letter to Terry Deary

Open letter to Terry Deary
Dear Terry,
I have just read what you had to say in reply to my comments on your recent interview in which you said libraries had had their day and that you wished good luck to your local council cutting some of them.
You seem to think my opinion that your statement was irresponsible was somehow insulting. It wasn’t. It was a coolly expressed point of view. I believe that a well-known, much-loved author breaking ranks with almost universal opposition to library closures is just that. Incidentally, I didn’t call you a philistine. I asked what you were doing siding with them. That is different.
You call me ‘that Gibbon bloke’ even though you know my name very well and say I am small-minded. You say that I am not worth debating with. Fine, debate with somebody who is better known than I am, say David Almond, Philip Pullman, Lee Hall, Joan Bakewell, Lee Child or Kate Mosse or any of the other major figures who have spoken out against library cuts.
Let’s get this debate out into the public arena without name-calling. Have libraries had their day? Should they all be closed? Has reading gone 100% digital? Should we give out Ipads instead of having social spaces in the community? I say no, but let’s discuss it. You may just convince the rest of us we are wrong, though I doubt it.
All the best,
Alan Gibbons

10 thoughts on “Open letter to Terry Deary

  1. Totally I agree with you and now even more exited you are coming to the school library where I work next month, Bradbury School in Hong Kong.

  2. I am completely baffled by the position Terry Deary appears to be taking. His argument that libraries are responsible for the decline in bookshops is so bizarre as hardly to be worth answering. Bookshops and libraries have co-existed for years- centuries in fact. It may also have escaped his notice that libraries do actually buy books, in very large quantities. Amazon is essentially what’s killing off bookshops as they struggle to compete with its ruthless price cutting. I had always assumed from his books that TD was on the left of the political spectrum, so why is he supporting (in effect) a giant multinational over a free and socially inclusive public space? And why is he so angry all the time?

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  6. Terry says that he is upset by all the name-calling and playground language yet he seems to be indulging in that himself. It would be interesting to find out how many of his books have been bought by libraries in total and the total sales figure. He seems to conveniently forget that Libraries buy his books (for how much longer?!!).

  7. In the interview I saw, he didn’t say you weren’t worth debating with. He said he wasn’t interested in a debate, full stop. (He did go on to say, “And then there’s the matter of some offensive personal remarks…” but can’t comment as I haven’t seen those.)

  8. Hi Jay,
    It was a bit more than that. He called me ‘the Gibbon bloke’ and said there would be a debate ‘in my dreams.’ Of all the things I dream about, doing a debate with another ageing author isn’t one of them! Terry has met me so he knows the Gibbon bloke. He is prepared to make these remarks but not to be accountable for them so he did think I wasn’t worth debating with, in my humble opinion.

  9. No personal invective from me, by the way. I said two things:
    1) His comments were irresponsible. I think supporting council cuts to libraries and saying they should all close is just that.
    2) I asked what he was doing siding with the philistines. I think that too is a reasonable question and not a bit offensive. My comments are all in links on this blog.

  10. Hi Anne,
    I haven’t actually seen any name-calling. I haven’t taken part in any. I and others made serious criticisms of Terry’s comments. He has not yet chosen to make equally serious rebuttals.

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