This blog post originally said something other than what you are reading now. I had seen a blog post written by a “consultant” “library campaigner” or maybe even a sometime “author” who never seems to have much positive to say. I do not normally pay much attention but the inaccuracies of this particular post and the attack it made on public librarians made me cross. He basically said libraries are closing because they are rubbish and then went on to blame all librarians. I felt the need to respond in an attempt to try to make him see things with….um a little more balance…it did not work and only served to make me crosser and I ended up venting in this very blog post – guess what, it did not make me feel better…..Something else did. This evening I received an email from a lady who is supporting Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries efforts to stop the devastating 43% cuts to our library services. Her email moved me, put things into perspective and made me realise I was looking at things all the wrong way. She is a lifelong library user who “cannot envisage life in Gloucestershire without a full set of properly staffed and stocked libraries” she values all library staff “whether in public or specialist libraries” stating that “they need a huge range of skills for which they have undergone substantial training”
She finally says that she has pleaded with the county councillors to “search their consciences and think again. We need a library culture if we are to remain a civilised and knowledgeable country”.
This is one of many letters, emails and phone calls of support I have had from members of the public, students, charities, community groups, library staff (of all levels of seniority) councillors, authors, teachers, lecturers and journalists since I and three of my friends started Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries. It has been incredibly moving to hear why libraries and properly trained library staff are so important to them. Tonight it made me think that for every agitator out there we currently have 70 passionate, positive campaigners here in our formidable team and the numbers are growing all of the time (hopefully beyond 5000 if our petition is a success!) These people remind me why I am working so hard to save our libraries and this evening they have reminded me to focus my energy on campaigning for what I believe in and to stop being distracted (as I was momentarily) by someone whose intention is to exude negativity and who is never going to even try to understand what I have to say. So I have rewritten this blog post as a celebration and I dedicate it to all of the wonderful Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries campaigners who are working so hard, to the tireless, brave campaigners at Voices for the Library and to the library staff, both in Gloucestershire and nationally, who are currently going through a horrendous time. You are all my inspiration. In unity.