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Scientia est potentia

You've probably heard about this on the news already, but the government is planning to cut the budget of the British Library by up to 7%. The library is saying that the only way it can survive if this happens is to dramatically reduce its opening hours, and charge fees to use its reading rooms.

In other words, the nation's greatest and most comprehensive repository of printed information could be changed from a freely accessible resource into one which is only available to those with the wealth to pay its entrance fees and the flexibility to attend during limited opening hours. Personally, I feel very strongly that this should not be allowed to happen.

Thankfully, over 6000 people so far have shown that they feel the same way by signing a petition on the new Downing Street petitions website to protest against this. If you'd like to join them, the link is here. (But only UK residents and ex-pat citizens can sign up, I'm afraid).

Edit: or, as sushidog advises, go to Write To Them to send an email about it directly to your local MP. It only takes a minute or two, and you don't even have to know who they are - just where you live.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
purple_peril
Feb. 15th, 2007 11:54 am (UTC)
Done.
I'm not sure how much effect these online petitions have, but it's worth a try.
sushidog
Feb. 15th, 2007 12:30 pm (UTC)
I have my doubts about online petitions, so I'm writing to my MP instead.
strange_complex
Feb. 15th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
Yes, I know what you mean, and I'd love to be the sort of person who takes the time to write to their MP about these sorts of issues. Unfortunately, in real life I'm clearly not, so my thinking is that for people like me, signing a petition is better than not doing anything at all.
sushidog
Feb. 15th, 2007 01:09 pm (UTC)
If you use www.writetothem.com, it only takes a few minutes, and you get a warm glow of actually doing something for real. And then a while later, you get a reply from your MP, which makes you feel terribly important and effective.
strange_complex
Feb. 15th, 2007 01:35 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that's rather good actually, isn't it? Since I'd already written half of what I needed to say here, I've just used it to fire off a suitably copied-and-pasted missive, ending with the words, 'Surely this is
contrary to the principles of a Labour government?'

Plus, I now know who my local MP is, which I'd been wondering about since moving here!

I think I shall edit the link into my main post.
a_d_medievalist
Feb. 15th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
Here are places for non-UK citizens and ex-pats to write:

Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP
Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport
Department for Culture Media & Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London
SW1Y 5DH

If you know a better one, though, please let me know, and I'll post.

ANOTHER UPDATE:
From a friend ...

"According to their website, the BL is actively campaigning against the
proposed cuts and Lynne Brindley has asked those who feel strongly about
this issue to contact the library and explain "why the British Library is
important to you and give us permission to use your letter in our campaign.
Please e-mail chief-executive@bl.uk with your name, contact number and
message, or write to Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive, The British Library, 96
Euston Road, London NW1 2DB."
So if you have five minutes to spare, do send an e-mail or letter too."
sir_didymus
Feb. 15th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
Signed it.
poliphilo
Feb. 15th, 2007 01:52 pm (UTC)
And how much are we spending on the Olympics?
owlfish
Feb. 15th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
British residents can sign the petition too. (i.e. non-citizens resident in the UK)
strange_complex
Feb. 15th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's good. I shall edit appropriately.
the_lady_lily
Feb. 15th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
Signed, written and a parallel LJ entry posted ;)

Apparently being sleepy on a Thursday morning leads to thoughts on activism. Who knew?
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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