DEBBIE ABRAHAMS, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, is supporting World Book Day’s (7/3/19) national ‘Share a Story’ campaign – encouraging parents and carers to read with their children for ten minutes a day – as new data shows 521 libraries have closed across England since 2011.
Debbie said: “World Book Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the joy of reading and over 100 different countries will take part celebrating authors, illustrators, and their stories.
“Books open up whole new worlds for children and adults alike.
“I hope parents, grandparents and carers across Oldham and Saddleworth will take time to read for ten minutes with their children on World Book Day, and then make it a habit every day after.
“Sharing stories together, at home or school, in the library or in the park, on a bus or train, anywhere, anytime, for just ten minutes a day has long-lasting effects on a child’s future.”
Every year, World Book Day1 creates bespoke £1 books for children and young adults across the UK and Ireland, to promote the magic of books, the power of imagination and the importance of reading. This year the campaign is urging parents and carers to take ten minutes to ‘share a story’ with their children, to revive reading as a national pastime.
Commenting on new data, commissioned from the House of Commons Library by Labour’s shadow culture team that shows how the number of books borrowed and stocked by libraries across the country has fallen since 2011, Debbie added: “It’s incredibly disappointing that millions fewer books are being issued from our public libraries. Council budgets have been cut to the bone by Tory austerity and our library services are paying the price.
“Libraries should be at the heart of our local communities. However, almost a decade of Tory austerity has taken its toll on our public library services, causing branch closures, staff cuts, and fewer opening hours.
“Cuts to library services damage the learning opportunities of children and young people, and impact on older people who enjoy reading too, but who may not be able to afford to buy new books themselves.
“Government should urgently rethink and end these senseless cuts.”
The new data reveals that the number of books issued from public libraries in the North West has fallen by 15,177,759 since 2011.
The number of books borrowed in the North West has decreased by 45% from 33,526,677 in 2011 to 18,348,918 in 2018.
Previous research shows that library book stock has fallen by 3,283,292 in the North West region since 2010/11 and 521 libraries have closed across England since 2010.