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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Zadie Smith defends local libraries (UK)

Zadie Smith has described local libraries as "absolutely essential" as campaigners in the UK battle to protect the hundreds of branches which are under threat of closure. Speaking on Radio 5 Live on 30 August, Smith said that she owed her "whole life to books and libraries". The novelist, who joined campaigners fighting to save Kensal Rise library in Brent, said that "like a lot of kids in this country, if you don't have middle-class, educated parents you need to find ways to get books. A lot of people don't have books on their shelves. The library was the place I went to find out what there was to know. It was absolutely essential." Figures from the Public Library News website, which monitors library closures in the UK, show that 245 libraries (209 buildings and 36 mobiles) are currently either under threat, have been closed or left council control over the last year, out of the UK's 4,000-plus public libraries. These range from 13 branch closures in Leeds and five in Bolton to the transfer of 12 branches to volunteers in Warwickshire

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