Dear Mr. Pullman,
I have lived in Barnet for only a few years, but find myself campaigning for its libraries and am hoping to enlist your support with this letter. I am very attached to this borough, and feel very strongly that Barnet council's 'consultation' which is due to end in mid-February could be catastrophic for education and many other threads of our social fabric.
I have read your writing for many years, teaching and reading the His Dark Materials series and the Sally Lockhart Trilogy among other works. I am also aware of your campaign work, as an active Humanist myself. Your interest in libraries stems, I imagine, not only from your livelihood, but from your awareness of the dangers of its loss. Libraries are vital to instil and spread the joy of reading in the children of our borough, but more importantly, to make sure learning, self-improvement and unfettered enquiry are available to all our residents free of charge. None of this is news to you.
To understand the background of the sword-of-Damocles 'consultation' process to which our libraries will be subjected, I refer you to a blog far more successful than my own. Mrs Angry has been campaigning about the threat of cuts to many crucial services in Barnet for years.
As you were a prominent figure in the opposition to library closures in Brent council, I suspect you are aware of this campaign already. It is gaining momentum, but would be more likely to have coverage in national newspapers with your support.
If you could attend or otherwise promote any of the events listed at the end of this email, we would be very grateful indeed, knowing you must have many commitments as an active writer and campaigner. Alasdair Hill, the campaign secretary put it as follows in his most recent campaign email:
Barnet Council are currently consulting on the budget. This is likely to be used as an easy excuse to cut the libraries. If nobody suggests the library budget should be ring-fenced in this budget consultation the council could claim “their hands are tied” to the budget decisions. I recommend everyone complete the Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding section of this consultation (Q8) stating the desire to see the library budget ring-fenced. I would also recommend stating you “disagree” with the council tax plans and suggest a council tax rise could be used to pay for the library service (Q3, 4). The consultation closes on the 11/02/15 and can be found here.
With your support, we could let Barnet Council know that cutting the vital funding to our libraries is not an option. The most vulnerable people in our borough would be the first hit, and a generation's damage could be done if we let the council's plans go through. By lending us your voice, you could at the very least make people across Britain aware of the damage caused by these policies, if not reverse them.
Thank you in advance for any support you can offer.
Sunday 1st February
Leafleting Street Stall, Golders Green Library 1:30 pm (check out the Golders Green and Childs Hill Library Group Facebook page).
Saturday 7th February – National Libraries Day
Watch this space for events on this special day!
Tuesday 10th February
Community Meeting about libraries, All Saints School, Childs Hill 7:30 pm, featuring local commentators and politicians.
Tuesday 3rd March
Full Council Meeting, Hendon Town Hall, 6:00PM. This is the meeting we hope to speak at. We will need maximum support outside the hall and fill the overflow galleries to really show how much we care about the libraries.