Love Your Libraries

As well as our local Shoreditch group’s chosen campaigns, the national Women’s Institute is always actively campaigning. The latest issue the whole WI are tackling is library closures with our Love Your Library campaign. Please sign the online petition, send your local councillor a letter about closures, but also importantly please join and use your local library.

Our local libraries are those in Hackney and Tower Hamlets:
Shoreditch Library
Hackney Central Library
Homerton Library
Idea Store Whitechapel
Idea Store Bow
Bethnal Green Library
CLR St James Library Dalston

All have more than just books. Rent DVDs, CDs, go in for a coffee and read the paper, do a sewing course or learn a new skill to add to your CV.

Another reason to join a library is the wonderful elibrary run by a consortium of London libraries, which loans out ebook and audiobooks online here. Some of the Shoreditch Sisters got talking about this one day at a meeting and I can report that I now use it regularly to listen to audiobooks while I’m sewing or on the bus (Penelope Keith reading Agatha Raisin mystery books are my new guilty pleasure and cure for stress).

All you need is a library membership from your local branch, a pin number (set when you join or call the library for it if you are already a member) and a program called “Overdrive” available from the website, which runs on your computer and syncs to most devices, including iPods, iPads, Macs, Sony Readers and Creative MP3 players. Then catch up on all those books you’ve been meaning to read by listening to MP3s and WMAs while you’re out and about; or read  books on your laptop or phone. One of our members even uses the elibrary and a waterproof MP3 player to making swimming more interesting.

Here is the NFWI say about the campaign:

Carry your library card with pride!At the heart of the campaign is the belief that libraries are essential resources that are too important to risk losing. That’s why we’re calling on every member that cares about public libraries to take the simple first step of joining your local library and getting to know your local librarians.

Sign the petition!Before the last election, the Prime minister, David Cameron MP said he planned to introduce a scheme whereby any petition that raised 100,000 signatures would trigger a debate in the House of Commons. The NFWI wants to call on the PM to honour this commitment and we’d like to see every member sign our petition with their family and friends to demonstrate just how much the WI really values our libraries.

Write to your councillors Individuals and WI groups can make an impact. Please use the information in the campaign briefing,  to write to your local councillor highlighting the Love Your Library campaign, and expressing the importance of libraries to your local community.
You can find contact details for your local councillor via this website.

Do remember to localise your letter – if you know that libraries are under threat then please do incorporate this information, and any feedback from members about the impact service reductions would have on them.

It is also important that we establish a picture of the proposals for closures and changes to library services in all areas, so please do ask what plans the council has for changes to library services in your area. If the council has already published plans, then please ask for an update and feed this information back to the WI Public Affairs Department (see http://www.thewi.org.uk/standard.aspx?id=24427).

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