Tue, 09 Feb 2016
A RENOWNED author has described West Berkshire Council’s proposals to close all but one of the district’s libraries as an “act of significant cultural vandalism”.
Kintbury resident Robert Harris, who has written nine best-selling books including Fatherland, Pompeii and Imperium, called it a “war on reading”.
The district council is looking to close eight out of its nine libraries as it looks to make savings of £17.5m next year.
Speaking to Newburytoday yesterday, Mr Harris, who is married to the well-known author Gill Hornby, said: “I think it is appalling.
“Libraries play an important part in educating people and it is very, very, short sighted to cut learning and reading in that way. The repurcussions will be felt in ways we cannot see.
“Going to a local library, I was always reading history when I was younger and that played a big part in my writing. I understand that cuts have to be made but to close all but one library seems extremely drastic.
“Once you lose this service it is not coming back. Once it is gone it is gone.”
West Berkshire Council's portfolio holder for community culture and leisure services, Hilary Cole, said: “A proposal to reduce the number of libraries is one of the areas we have no choice but to consider as we seek to save £17.5m next year.
"We know our communities value libraries immensely and it’s with a heavy heart that we have to look for further savings within our library service.”