Below is a list of some current campaigns which may be of interest.
Feedback welcome, including those campaigns about which you feel most strongly (for or against) and details of other campaigns on matters of principal concern to our members.
For a quick overview of our current campaign goals, read our manifesto.
Save Barnet Library
Barnet is consulting on its libraries. Please read the messages below, sign the petition and share as widely as you can.
This petition will be handed to the Mayor of Barnet or the Leader of the Barnet Conservatives Group before the vote on the future of Barnet libraries
Online there are 4,100 signature and another 900 have been handed to the petition organiser (a campaigner from Mill Hill called Alasdair Hill). If 10,000 signatures are collected then Alasdair Hill gets the right to speak to a full council meeting about the proposed changes.
To sign the petition, please click here.
The campaigners say:
Do not close down or eradicate the functions and services of our public libraries in Barnet.
Why is this important? The proposed savings of £2.85 million from the Library Services in Barnet threatens the existence of one of the last remaining community amenities we have left. Three options have been put forward by the Council to make these savings; all three will see a reduction in the quality and quantity of service provision.
Option one will see the size of library cut in all but four libraries. This idea fails to understand that libraries are used for their space as well as their books; less places for pupils and students to study and read results in a reduction of the quality of service.
Option two will see the closure of Burnt Oak, Childs Hill, Mill Hill, East Finchley, Osidge and South Friern Libraries and a significant reduction of staffing levels at the remaining libraries. This option does not consider how the remaining libraries will cope with increased footfall owning to the closure of the other libraries, particularly around peak library times.
Option three is a mix of the two, with some libraries being handed over to community groups and reduced staffing elsewhere.
Libraries are the embodiment of social provision and community spirit. They are more than just books; they offer children's activities during term and holidays which are used by parents and nurseries. They offer access to the internet to those that don't have access. They provide space for people to read and study in peace that is not always possible in their homes. They are places to host community events, training and education. Please sign this petition if you believe in the universal provision of literature, education and community services in Barnet. Say no to the erosion of this great social asset.
The consultation document can be found here.
Eighteen Months to Implement Sieghart Says Library Task Force Chair
15 January 2015
Referring to national coverage of the release of the Sieghart Report, which focused on the suggestions that libraries should offer comfortable social spaces with hot drinks and sofas, Sieghart said:
I did recommend those things because people told me again and again how needed it was… but one thing that got overlooked was books. Most of the libraries I visited, I was disappointed in the books. Most haven't learned from the booksellers how to present and display their books. Some have so much cellophane around them you can barely see what's inside. But the book isn't going away. In all of our conversations about digital, let's not forget about the book.
The Bookseller's write-up can be found here.
Library of Birmingham to Suffer At Least £1.5 Million of Cuts
12 January 2015
The Library of Birmingham, home to a large number of internationally significant collections including a 43,000-book strong Shakespeare Collection, is currently threatened with financial cuts proposed by Birmingham City Council. £1.5 million of cuts are proposed for the next financial year, followed by a further £3.3 million in the succeeding year.
The effects of the cuts are likely to be:
- slashing the hours of the library by 40%;
- preventing the purchase of new books;
- restricting archive access to scholars and researchers;
- reducing library outreach work and exhibitions;
- making 100 members of staff redundant;
- limiting contribution to the housebound & community library service.
When the library opened in 2012, SoA members praised the project.
Former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion said:
These plans are properly ambitious to preserve the best traditional practice, while also opening the building to new ideas about what a library should be—the heart of the community, fulfilling all manner of social needs as well as scholarly, research-based and pleasurable ones.
Current SoA President Philip Pullman said:
The new Library of Birmingham sounds as if it will be lovely and should attract even more users than the present one with its impressive visitor total of 5,000 a day.
Society of Authors' Chair and Chief Executive Demand to be Locked Up
Update: Anne has now been locked up for the night, and Nicola has been let off with a warning! You can read Anne's blog on the subject on her website here, and you can read the Guardian article about the campaign here. The fundraising team for A Night In The Cells have so far raised over £47,000 of their £60,000 target to support prison libraries, and you can still donate to the cause by visiting the campaign's JustGiving page.
Anne Sebba, chair of the Society of Authors, and Nicola Solomon, its Chief Executive, are competing against other leading book-industry figures to spend a night in a cell in the former Hammersmith Magistrates Court, London.
The initiative is designed to highlight the Ministry of Justice’s recently-introduced blanket ban on loved ones sending in books and other essentials to prisoners. A fundraising initiative in support of the Howard League for Penal Reform’s campaign against the MoJ’s decision will see the six most successful fundraisers getting banged up in a single cell each for the night of 19 June.
Nicola Solomon commented “The tightening of restrictions on prisoners being sent books has a disproportionate effect because prisons seem to be failing in their statutory responsibility to provide adequate library services to prisoners.
Under The Prison Rules 1999 and Young Offender Institution Rules 1988 there is a statutory responsibility for each prison to have a library, and for prisoners to have facilities to use and exchange books. All prisoners must be allowed access to library books and prisons must hold adequate stock. Library visits should be of a minimum 30 minutes’ duration and as often as is practical at times that facilitate access by prisoners. Access must be at least once every two weeks as an absolute minimum.”
Anne Sebba, who is working on a book about women in Paris during the Nazi occupation added “I have visited several prisoners in UK and Turkey as a journalist and have spoken to prisoners who have convinced me that it is vital to offer some hope of a useful life beyond bars. One night in a relatively uncomfortable bed with time to reflect on my good fortune of being released in the morning would be a powerful aid to understanding quite how barbaric the last century was and the importance of using prison to reform not punish.”
In the last few days the Society of Authors has written to written to Justice Minister Chris Grayling to protest against his decision, as well as to Sajid Javid, the new Secretary of State for Culture.
Links to the campaign pages are:
Anne Sebba: http://www.justgiving.com/AnneSebba1
Nicola Solomon: http://www.justgiving.com/nicolasolomon
Prison Libraries Campaign
The Society is concerned at the short-sighted policy of preventing friends and relatives from sending books in to prisoners. In support of the letter sent from the Booksellers Association to Justice Minister Chris Grayling, SoA Chief Executive Nicola Solomon has also written to the Justice Minister as well as to Sajid Javid, the new Secretary of State for Culture. The letter emphasises that the Society’s concerns are exacerbated because it seems that many prisons may be failing in their statutory obligations to provide prison libraries.
The law provides that there is a statutory responsibility for each prison to have a properly staffed and stocked library, and for prisoners to have facilities to use and exchange books. The Society has long campaigned for there to be a similar obligation to provide libraries and librarians in schools.
Statutory obligations provide that all prisoners must be allowed access to library books. The Library must be located in a suitable space that allows prisoners to browse the stock easily, and to access and use (for example, read and make notes from) reference materials. Staff should encourage prisoners to make use of the library facilities, and help raise awareness of the services it provides. Library visits should be of a minimum 30 minutes’ duration and as often as is practical at times that facilitate access by prisoners. Access must be at least once every two weeks as an absolute minimum. Accessibility may be more frequent and for longer duration for prisoners wishing to research legal issues. Where prisoners are unable to access the library, an alternative service should be provided that allows them to both exchange and order reading material at least as often as if they were able to visit the library. Most prisons allow prisoners to keep 12 books in their cell at any one time.
The vision of the prison library is stated as
“To provide offenders in custody with a range of reading and reference material that will:
- assist their learning and skills development;
- help them to structure their time when they are not engaged with regime activities;
- provide essential support and guidance to their resettlement aims; and encourage their use of libraries after release, as part of adopting a positive role in society”
It is disappointing to learn from reports from prisoners and librarians that this sensible and admirable vision and statutory provision is widely ignored and that access to books is often restricted, library visits are curtailed and books requested are not procured. We would urge the Government and individual provisions to comply with the spirit and letter of their statutory obligations.
Read Nell Leyshon's piece on the subject on her blog, here.
Reading for Pleasure Campaign
Children's Literacy Campaign -- we are campaigning for:
1. Primary and secondary schools to be required by law to have a school library and a trained librarian.
2. Teachers, in all stages of their careers, to be supported through a range of initiatives (detailed in the letter below) to inspire a love of reading for pleasure in their pupils.
3. Schools’ use of author visits and longer residencies to be accredited by Ofsted.
- Author Visits in Primary and Secondary Schools
- Read more about the campaign
- Read the open letter to the former Schools Minister, Nick Gibb
- Response from Michael Cladingbowl HMI
- Nicola Solomon's letter to Harriet Harman
- Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group Report
We continue to monitor PLR closely. You can read an update here.
We have recently prepared a Briefing note on PLR and Royalties from Library elending and are demanding that:
1 The provisions in the Digital Economy Act 2010 that extend PLR to audio books and loans of on-site ebooks should be enacted without further delay. The overall PLR pot should be increased to recognise the higher number of loans. The failure to enact these provisions to date is patently unjust and a breach of the UK’s obligations under the Rental and Lending Directive (2006/115/EC).
2 PLR should be extended to volunteer libraries.
3 If it does not prove possible to remunerate authors fully via licensing models, further legislative changes should be made to extend PLR to remote e-loans.
To view more articles about PLR and ebook lending, click here.
Intellectual Property Rights
Knowledge of copyright, its value and how to protect it is vital for every citizen - particularly in a digital age when all are creators. Pupils also need to be educated on the dangers of piracy in an era when copying is so easy. We are concerned that the National Curriculum for 2014 has seen the loss of any reference to intellectual property rights. This seems at odds with the stated ambition of the Government that an effective intellectual property regime ‘requires education’ (p10, Government Response to the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth).
Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the SoA, has written to Michael Gove MP asking him to correct this oversight and ensure that an understanding of intellectual property remain within the National Curriculum wherever possible.
- Read the Society's letter to Michael Gove
- Learn more about this campaign
- Read the Society's submission to the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth
A list of national and regional library campaigns can be found here.
At the end of 2011 the Government published plans for a major reform of copyright. Many of the proposals stem from last year’s Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth. However the latest proposals include new measures not covered by the original review which, if enacted, would reduce or possibly even eradicate the remuneration ALCS currently collects from the education sector. Click here for further information
A Bill of Rights for Artists -- a campaign setting out a Bill of Rights for all artists, supported by organisations from around the world. It updates and expands the Bill of Rights campaign initiated in 2008 by the photographer's organisation, Pro-Imaging.org. The campaign promotes the rights of creative people of all disciplines, music, photography, video, film, fine arts, writing, etc. It is independent, and open to all artists' representative associations. Representative associations can undertake all the campaign activities and have access to the campaign website to create and publish content credited to their association. www.artists-bill-of-rights.org
Bacc for the future is a campaign to include creative subjects in the core subjects for Key Stage 3 (currently GCSE level) to be included in the proposed English Baccalaureate (EBacc) which
was introduced by Michael Gove, and is currently at the consultation stage. The EBacc focuses on five subject areas: Maths, English, Sciences, Languages (Ancient and Modern), and Humanities (defined as only History or Geography). It does not include creative subjects. Bacc for the future is campaigning to ensure that the teaching of rigorous creative subjects (and consequently education about intellectual property) through the introduction of a sixth pillar of creative subjects.
The Children's Media Foundation is dedicated to ensuring the UK children have the best possible choice, range and quality of media available to them. It's role is to bring together the children's media industry, the research community, parents and policy makers in a deeper understanding of the issues around children and their media activity. It supports research projects, and media literacy initiatives, runs an All Party Group to inform Parliamentarians about the latest research, and lobbies for greater support for children's media made in the UK.
Coalition of Resistance is a broad united national campaign against cuts and privatisation in our workplaces, community and welfare services, based on general agreement with the Founding Statement issued by Tony Benn in August 2010. Read more...
Fair Trade For Creators is a campaign that calls for immediate action against coercive contractual practices facing creators in Europe. The campaign supports the complaint brought by the European Composers and Songwriters Alliance (ECSA) on 17 January against a group of European broadcasters and their alleged anti-competitive practices through coercive commissioning and unfair contractual agreements signed under duress. Sign the petition.
Enjoy Reading is a new campaign created by Pearson UK which aims to help children become lifelong readers, encouraging parents to expose them to books and make reading enjoyable.The campaign's website is aimed at parents with tips on getting children reading and offers free ebooks for children to read on-screen. Pearson have also co-founded Booktime with Booktrust, a national free books programme for reception-aged children. See also Read for my School
Make Reasoning Skills Compulsory in Schools Campaign. The 4R's campaign is the brainchild of The Philosophy Shop, a charity who bring philosophy in to schools. The campaign aims to highlight the need for 'Reasoning' to be put on equal footing with 'Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.' The development of critical and creative thinking, of understanding and autonomous thinking are all key components of learning philosophy through The Philosophy Shop's method of doing philosophy with children. www.gopetition.co.uk/petition/37997.html
The Campaign for Real Books was established in November 2010 to preserve and promote paper books and the independent bookshops that sell them. Members have a card they can use to get 10% discount from participating booksellers. Well over 100,000 British jobs depend on paper books and bookshops are the most visible aspect of this industry. Cambo wants to keep all of these jobs alive by making sure that paper books are never seen as second rate to screens. Will you join them? Today it's the libraries, and if we all do nothing, it will be bookshops tomorrow. Together we can make a difference. www.campaignforrealbooks.org
The Library Campaign is an independent national organisation set up in 1984 to support Friends of Library groups and to campaign for improved services in publicly funded libraries. In March 2004 the Library Campaign became a registered charity (no. 1102634). They work with Alan Gibbons' Campaign for the Book.
The National Campaign for the Arts is the UK’s only independent organisation campaigning for all the arts. With a growing, UK-wide membership, the NCA is driven by the needs of the arts sector. They believe that only speaking with a united voice can the arts truly be heard. www.ivaluethearts.org.uk
The Libel Reform Campaign is an Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense about Science Campaign.To these organisations it has become increasingly clear that English libel law and the use of ‘super-injunctions’ are having a profoundly negative impact on freedom of expression, both in the UK and abroad.
Writers such as Simon Singh, and the respected current affairs programme Newsnight, have found themselves facing defamation suits, whilst human rights campaigners are often forced to edit and retract articles in the face of potential libel action. The campaign's objective is to persuade politicians from all the political parties to commit to reform of our unjust libel laws.www.libelreform.org
Click here to read the latest update on the libel reform situation.
The Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign has been set up to protest against the destructive changes planned by Lincolnshire County Council. The Council are planning to cut back the number of council-run libraries in the county from 44 to just 15 in order to save £2million. Mobile library stops will also be slashed by almost 70%, from 400 to only 126, and 170 skilled jobs will be shed from the council's payroll in favour of a community-led, volunteer model for libraries. Save Lincolnshire Libraries are encouraging people to take a number of avenues in their campaigning.
Visit www.savelincslibraries.org.uk to find out more about ways you can help the campaign.
Lost Arts is a project and campaign to catalogue cuts and what they mean for our communities. Tell them how the cuts affect you – where you work or the impact on the libraries, theatres, arts centres and other arts organisations you love – and the protests you are involved in to save them. This information will be built by the campaign into a body of evidence to take to decision-makers when they decide how much arts and culture are worth; local governments as they set their annual budgets and central government when they decide how much investment the arts and culture sector will get from 2015 onwards. Find a map of where cuts are falling at www.lost-arts.org where you can also submit information about cuts affecting you.
The objective of the Just Read Campaign is for every child in the UK to become a reader. This campaign is not about making children functionally literate. It goes beyond that. All the research shows that the child that reads for pleasure is more likely to achieve. Unfortunately, both the government’s own statistics and international research show that reading standards are not improving in the UK and that enjoyment of reading is declining.
The Campaign Against Vetting -- The Manifesto Club is leading the national opposition to UK legislation such as the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, which makes vetting compulsory for all adults who work or volunteer with kids.
Such rules have no positive benefit, and do nothing to stop those who seek to harm children. Instead, they merely target and turn away decent adults, whose help is essential for children's development and safety. They argue for a commonsense approach to child protection, that recognises the value of informal interaction between the generations.
Visiting Artists and Academics Campaign -- The Home Office introduced new restrictions on international artists and academics visiting the UK for talks, temporary exhibitions, concerts or artists' residencies. Visitors now have to submit to a series of arduous and expensive proceedures to get their visa, and then more bureaucratic controls when they are in the UK.
Voices for the Library is a place for everyone who loves libraries to share their stories and experiences of the value of public libraries.