Library closures in the UK

We are going through a period of local authority austerity measures, resulting in the very short-sighted policy of closing public libraries. Well over 300 have closed since 2009, whilst others have been saved only by being taken over by community groups and staffed by volunteers. Much gratitude is owed to them.

Libraries are absolutely vital to a civilised society. Education takes place not only in schools, but for life in libraries.  At a time when it is thought that boys in particular need to be encouraged to read, and we are sliding down the world rankings in terms of educational achievement, we opt to close down one of the most vital of public services. How can we hope to develop intelligent and civilised minds without books and reading? ‘Library’ derives from the Latin for book, ‘liber, libris’, and I would say that the word ‘liberation’ does too- liberation from ignorance, prejudice and lack of imagination at the very least.

Here is the poem I wrote for a reading in aid of a community library group in my part of the world.


 Inside the building of worlds

all was there,kids in library

worlds    within words   within worlds,

a liberation

from the narrow shadowed field,

from the stricken streets,

from isolation,

from grief,

from the daily creaking mill.                                  kids' books in library

How the girl lost herself

and found herself

and lost herself again,

fed the hunger

on a simple page

in a simple chair.


How the boy’s horizons broadened                                   toddler in library

of mountains,

of desert,

of polar ice cap,

Shackleton meeting Confucius,

Peter Rabbit on board with Columbus,

Mowgli in the little house on the prairie,

Darwin discoursing with Prince Caspian;

and was that not God and Kierkegaard

in conversation?


Their minds, their imaginations

lay like fallow fields in the sun,

eager for the sowing of seeds,

thirsty for the raindrops of wisdom;

and the old man came in

out of the wind’s careless clamour

to warm himself on the world’s news.


Then all the wise men and women

of  Constantinople   Alexandria

Cordoba  and  Nalanda

wept to see

the chains of Fiscal Man

imprison the brains of new-born babies,

his setting fire to the old libraries.




© David Urwin 2016


About jadedmountain

I am a poet, living a rural life in south-west Wales. The purpose of this blog is to publicise my poetry.
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3 Responses to Library closures in the UK

  1. Anne Marie Butler says:

    Such depth to this . These closures impact upon the social and educational needs of any community, old and young alike. A strong political statement . . want to send it to the Council !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done Dave! keep protesting towards these nasty events. We are living a “dark” time, but it’s so necessary not to keep silent


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