LIBRARIES UNDER THREAT

There is no other way to describe the intention to close many libraries in the UK as blatant government cost cutting. Justify it any way you want, but this is tantamount to symbolically surgically removing an integral part of our living society. Take out one library and you not only take away the livelihood of a librarian but you destroy the very fabric that has been an intrinsic part of our further education for folk of all ages. I’d like to include a paragraph written by Philip Pullman who so succinctly puts this into perspective:

“This represents a reduction of one full time librarian. This reflects reduced student numbers, decreasing use of the traditional library facility and a move towards the relocation and redistribution of non-fiction and fiction resources in the light of new developments in Virtual Learning Environment and interactive learning. The post of librarian will therefore no longer be required from January 2009.”

A tale of undying love spanning many centuries

The Meadow is now available at many libraries around the world

From the author’s point of view (in particular the self published author) libraries are an essential aid to creating literary awareness. In 2004 I ventured into the world of book writing by co-creating “The Meadow”. By a strange quirk of fate I met Elfreda Pretorius via a third party conversation over the Internet. The rest is history and does not concern this blog. Despite the content or quality of the finished article, we could not find a literary agent to represent us. In this day and age, if you are not already a successful author, have a high public profile or famous by other means, you stand little chance of seeing your work published. Profit is king and nothing gets in the way when gambling with people’s careers.

Going down the self-published route appeared to be our only option and we did it on line  in a very professional way. However, personal responsibility takes on a whole new meaning by venturing down this road. The author(s) takes on the mantel of being editor, promoter, marketer and communicator and every other relevant position you care to choose. It was and still is a minefield when it comes to mastering the tools at your disposal. We’re doing our best to get the word out there but there are limits regarding how to facilitate it.

“The Meadow” is important to the two authors in a way that transcends the monetary side that success represents. We are passionate about the role this book will play in modern society and how it can help change the way we consider life and all of its trappings. It has an important message which illustrates how all things are interconnected without exception and as a consequence questions the role of religion. It only challenges religion — planting that seed of curiosity allowing the individual to consider other aspects on life.

When a novel has been self published it doesn’t have the corporate support from an orthodox publisher whereby the book will be produced in sufficient numbers to make it cost effective. Support that with practical marketing, and a good book will always reach the appropriate shelves, not forgetting all the other help that is given as a bi product. In effect this means that a self-published book is printed on demand and in small numbers. We are lucky to have found a self-publishing organization who at least gets our novel into the annuls of on-line distribution but that is also down to what package you are prepared to pay for. It thus becomes an investment backed with the hope that success will come sooner rather than later.

Because of our passion to help create more awareness about the things that surround us, we consider the monetary aspect secondary when deciding how every man and woman can benefit from the knowledge gained by reading “The Meadow.” This is why the library is so important when considering how this book can reach the masses. In my home town the Central Library has been very supportive by stocking this book and advising the branch libraries to do the same. By bringing this to the attention of people all around the world will create a more effective way of reaching those who otherwise may not be able to afford buying the book.

My message to all interested parties is to approach your local library and ask them to stock “The Meadow” on their shelves. One lending can serve a hundred people or more. Once the book becomes mainstream publishing will become a whole new ball game. Until that time the library is so important to us as authors. I have been in contact with my local library for a while now and in that time I have attended group meetings, given talks, witnessed small relevant social events and of course the children would be lost without this extra learning facility.

Research is a very important factor for all manner of reasons and uses. Not everything can be gained from surfing the Net. A book is still a necessity when it comes to that extra bit of information or knowledge  required to finish a thesis or similar. Long live the library.

I implore the UK Government to think again regarding taking this draconian measure. It serves no purpose other than justifying some balance sheet in another government department and it is simply Peter robbing to pay Paul.

Don’t forget you can Twitter me at any time. Between you, me and Twitter maybe we can help to put things right.

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Comments

  • June Klein  On February 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I agree. However, I think it is time for libraries to recreate themselves with a model that is insynch with the world and technologies. Oxford University’s main library has just created an internet category for organizing since the internet cuts across so many categories. Starting out with a 5th estate category which is the communications spectrum that drives accountability would also be of timely value. the-5th-estate.com is a concierge website for today’s megatrend which is what the internet was 10 years ago and cuts across multiple disciplines and pulls it all together.

    • mikeohare  On February 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks for the timely response, June. Cart before the horse, egg before the chicken? Perhaps, through our combined efforts, we should be subscribing to creating awareness of this problem which is leaping out of control.

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