Dear Mayor Joe Anderson
You’ve had a lot of letters, recently, about Liverpool’s libraries: I’d like to share a photograph.
This, this picture, is the power of libraries.
I was born in Lodge Lane, Joe. When my Nan was a small girl, she scrubbed steps for the posh people who lived on Parliament Street. She never learnt to read until she married my grandad. A working man, like you, he understood the power of the printed word. And he wanted to give that power to his family.
But that his grandchildren would one day read books at the New York Public Library? Well that was a fairy tale. A fantasy, as real as Jack’s beanstalk. I had no magic beans Joe, but I did have hope, and I had libraries. It was books that allowed me to climb high, to enter worlds my grandparents couldn’t have imagined. To dare to dream.
But libraries aren’t just about the future, Joe. They are about being in the moment, too. See the joy in my child’s face, as he shares a story with his dad; there’s not a lot of joy in some of our deprived communities, Joe. Can you really take this opportunity away from them?
I know you have it tough. For over twenty years, I worked in local government, I sweated blood and tears. But I had to say goodbye: it was breaking my heart seeing, and being forced to play a part, in the mass destruction of public services brought about by this government.
I am sure it’s breaking your heart too Joe. But a broken heart will mend; a broken community, now that’s a lot harder to fix. The loss of a library is forever, and with it disappears opportunity, hope and dreams.
Share the love Joe, please don’t close Liverpool’s libraries.