Lepton academic Andrew Walsh hopes illustrated A to Z will put libraries on politicians' agendas

The Library A to Z by Andrew Walsh and Josh Filhol illustrates the best about our endangered libraries

Illustration by Josh Filhol from The Library A to Z book which promotes libraries.

An illustrated A to Z hopes to put our endangered libraries back on the political agenda.

Academic librarian Andrew Walsh is hoping to produce an alphabet book promoting the importance of libraries.

Due to budget cuts councils have started to shed their responsibilities for public libraries, leaving their future in doubt.

Mr Walsh, of Lepton, has launched an appeal to fund The Library A to Z illustrated book on business launch website Kickstarter.

If £6,000 is raised, cards with images from the book – drawn by Josh Filhol – will be sent to every British MP.

The cards will ask MPs what they are doing to support libraries in their constituencies.

The project has so far raised £3,900 – more than enough to make packs containing books, posters and other materials to be sent to at least five different media organisations.

Mr Walsh has been running the project with public librarian and library campaigner Gary Green, from Surrey.

Huddersfield University employee Mr Walsh said: “I can see clearly the value of public libraries, but also how much they have been weakened across the country by budget and staffing cuts in recent years.

Lorne Campbell / Guzelian Andrew Walsh, who is producing The Library A to Z , an illustrated book to promote libraries
Andrew Walsh, who is producing The Library A to Z , an illustrated book to promote libraries
 

“Recent stresses on council budgets have put them under even more threat, yet times of austerity are when they are most needed, particularly by the more disadvantaged in our communities.

“They help people educate themselves, find work or start new businesses, become active digital citizens and provide neutral space for community development.

“All the evidence points towards libraries being an incredibly valuable investment, yet they are seen as a soft target to cut staffing, cut budgets.

“To avoid headlines of ‘closing libraries’ they increasingly receive token gestures of allowing volunteer run libraries which are typically not sustainable and can’t offer the full service and associated benefits of a professionally run library.”

For more information about The Library A to Z project visit: innovativelibraries.org.uk/libraryatoz.

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