On the Today programme this morning (Radio 4) Zadie Smith had these things to say amongst her comments about the closure of public libraries:
I would never have seen a single university carrel if I had not grown up living 100 yards from the library in Willesden Green.
[It’s] difficult to explain to people with money what it means not to have money. ‘If education matters to you, they ask, if libraries matter to you, why wouldn’t you be willing to pay them if you value them?’ They’re the kind of people who believe value can only be measured in money.
Like many people without money, we relied on public services... as a necessary gateway to better opportunities. We paid our taxes in the hope that they’d be used to establish shared institutions from which all might benefit equally.
Community is a partnership between government and the people and it’s depressing to hear the language of community, the so-called big society, being used to disguise the low motives of one side of that partnership as it attempts to renege on the deal.
To listen look for ‘People voting with their feet’ on library cuts Wed, 30 Mar 11 here.