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Save Our Libraries

By Phil Bradley

I can’t remember the first time I used a library, but I was little and it was housed in a very big very old very ornate building in the middle of my home town, and there were a few years back then when I have more memories of time in the library than of just about anything else. I exhausted the children’s library in, it now seems, seconds flat, and got permission to use the adult section. Heaven knows what I discovered there, but I read a lot, at a rate I can only look back on with envy. Was it six books a week we were allowed to borrow? Whatever, I used the allowance to the full.

When I first moved to Folkestone I also used the library a lot, particularly when I was freelancing and I seemed to camp out in the reference section. Then I became a bloated capitalist or something, or at any rate I came to own a large proportion of the books I need to specialise in. At the same time the library became rather more (and rather less) than a place for books. Maureen and I were in the local library just the other week, and you really have to search to find any books (though it was still being heavily used).

Nevertheless I believe passionately that libraries are an essential part of the cultural life of any community. That everyone needs and deserves to have ready access to books.

Unfortunately, our government does not feel the same. In fact, our government appears to have no time for cultural life, period! They have tripled university fees for students. They have scrapped all funding for university arts and humanities courses. They have slashed arts funding. And their cuts to local governments mean that libraries across the country will close.

Today is Save Our Libraries Day, part of a campaign to reverse those cuts or at least force local government to think again. In the war against the philistinism of this government, it is a battle we must win.

Throughout this post I put some of the brilliant posters that Phil Bradley has devised to support this campaign. There are more here.

6 thoughts on “Save Our Libraries

  1. Bravo! I hope the day go well! Every fiscal year, stateside, we are under the gun about state cuts/federal cuts etc. etc., so messy, never fun. I love the movement going on in Britain today, I hope it is wildly successful!

  2. Dear Ms. Swirsky,

    Pay no attention to the man behind the velveteen curtains!

    Hi, my name is Mike. I spend a lot of time in libraries too!

    I’ve been writing short literary fiction for the past several years, and recently finished writing my first novel. I have a literary agent who is excited, or I have an excited literary agent. I’m still not sure of which?

    I don’t write SF.

    I came across SF zines last September when I was researching a story titled “Adam and Me” about the ghost of Adam Smith, the author of “The Wealth of Nations” (A famous economic treatise about Capitalism.) Adam is haunting the narrator (a billionaire investor) as global warming is destroying the planet because of unfettered capitalism. I’m hoping to have it published this year at Tin House Magazine.

    Anyway, as I was doing my research, I came across several SF zines and noted a few grammatical and punctuation mistakes in stories published by Clarkesworld and at Strange Horizons. When I contacted the editors, they became very defensive (is there a degree of defensiveness?) And, ever since then I’ve been editing their edits of the fiction in their zines.

    They are not happy with me, or I with them. I believe a writer deserves to have the best edit possible, and they are not offering any real edit. The proofreaders they have are volunteers and miss a lot of stuff. My contention is—if you can pay the writer for the fiction, you can pay an editor to make certain the copy is sound.

    The editors at both zines would have their writers believe that I am some type of word-ogre hell-bent on trashing their zines. Nope. Just want to see all writers (including SF writers) get a fair shake.

    You needn’t respond to this. I simply wanted you to know that I’m in no way disparaging your writing ability. My wife is my second set of eyes and she proofreads my stuff before I send it away. She’s a great proofreader and catches many things that I might sometimes omit. Not everyone is as fortunate as I, in this regard. And I, in turn, edit ms’ for two fellow writers. What goes-around-comes-around.

    Anyway. I like libraries too.


      1. Dude. Some number of your “corrections” are incorrect, and the “mistakes” you’re seeing, well, they aren’t. If editors respond to you to point this out, they are not being “defensive,” merely correct.

        And following someone around the internet so you can repeatedly tell them all about your pet issue does begin to look a trifle unhinged after a while.

        Instead of worrying about the editors of CW or SH, or making such an effort to spread the word about their editorial malfeasance (to the extent it actually exists), why not put all this effort into your own writing?

  3. If one is so arrogant to “edit” published work in the comments section of that work, one should probably endeavor to make one’s own posts perfect. “The Wealth of Nations”—really? Is it a one-act play? And goes-around-comes-around, ugh.

    PS to Mike: TIN HOUSE generally doesn’t publish crap, so you might want to submit that story elsewhere.

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