Writer Philip Pullman is the most fabulous ranter on behalf of us, The Public.
Here he points the finger at Tory MP Eric Pickles (his real name!) and his ilk. Mr Pickles, Britain’s Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, has cut the budgets of the local councils that run public libraries and a lot of other things, and this is why a lot of libraries are fearing for their lives right now.
Here’s a bit of what Philip Pullman says in his speech defending libraries in Oxfordshire, where he lives: “I love the public library service... because its presence in a town or a city reminds us that there are things above profit... things that stand for civic decency and public respect for imagination and knowledge and the value of simple delight.”
I hereby name Mr Pullman Defender of the Realm.
(It must be about time I read some of his books other than the infamously famous His Dark Materials trilogy, which I loved. Perhaps that should be my next mission in this Latitude of Libraries. Any suggestions?)