Culture is a human need

Local government conference vows to campaign for libraries and cultural services

photograph of conference hall with speakers rostrum in the distance

“Human beings need culture: libraries, museums, parks, open spaces…” Margaret Gallagher of South Lanarkshire UNISON told the union’s local government conference this morning.

But with the cuts to library provision across the UK, she said, “the government is closing a gate that should be open”.

Delegate after delegate strode to the rostrum to catalogue the destruction of the library service across the UK.

Gillian Southby from the Vale of Glamorgan noted that her authority used to have nine libraries.

“But now there are only four full-time libraries. Two years ago, five were put into the hands of volunteers – it was either that or face full closure.”

And James Jones from Flintshire noted that that the Welsh national anthem refers to the country as “the land of poets and thinkers”.

But with the attacks on the libraries, “we’re seeing a severe decline in that”.

The service group pledge to continue its campaigning work to defend libraries and cultural services, including lobbying national politicians over their importance, producing a cultural charter for councils to sign up to, and promoting library use among members and the community.