A unique “read in” protest will take place outside Cardiff Central Library tomorrow, National Library Day, when residents gather to object to library cuts.
Attendees have been asked by organisers of the event, UNISON and Cardiff People’s Assembly, to bring along their favourite book and join in the “read in” at the library located on The Hayes in the city centre.
The proposed changes could see Cardiff Central Library become a “Super Hub”, which would could cause more book space to be lost after losing the top floor last year.
The protesters are also against plans to cut council funding to seven local libraries and hand over the work of trained library staff to volunteers.
Father James Siemens, the Parish Priest at St Theodore’s Greek Catholic Church in Cardiff Bay, is intending to attend the protest. He and his children, who range from 1 to 17 years old, regularly enjoy the use of Canton library. He said:
“A library is not just a place to take out books, it’s a place to learn. A quiet study space.”
“I wish a councillor, who is suggesting these cuts, could see the look on my young children. On my toddler’s face, when they take books out. And then take that away from them.
“I am not sure that volunteers, despite good intentions, will have the knowledge and expertise to be able to do the job. It is insulting to librarians’ expertise, as if [the job] is something they do, like baking in their spare time.”
But Rumney councillor Bob Derbyshire suggests it is not that easy. He said:
“If it were not the libraries it would have to be something else. We’re under pressure, like other councils, to spend less. We need to spend £48 million less than last year.
“Wherever they go there is going to pain. Would they want litter to be collected less frequently, or parks to open less frequently?
The protest begins at 12 noon tomorrow, outside the Central Library on the Hayes and will end at 2pm.