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Posted by Tom, December 10, 2012

200 libraries closed last year

There were some incredibly unhappy statistics reported in The Bookseller today: newly released numbers from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) show that more than 200 libraries have closed in the past year.

The one bright spot in this otherwise entirely gloomy piece of news is that children’s fiction has seen an increase in borrowing (the only area to have done so) for a second year running.

I don’t think there’s anything left to be said on the subject of how terrible an idea it is to close libraries: it represents a tragic combination of nonsensical, short-term economic vision, cultural philistinism, and an abject lack of empathy.

For an impassioned account of what libraries mean to an individual, Caitlin Moran’s column on the subject – which we re-printed with her permission on this blog – makes excellent reading, as does Philip Pullman’s speech from January of last year.

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