Friday, February 01, 2008

The War on Literature

News that the Arts Council has slashed government funding to a number of literature projects such as the publisher Daedalus Books and the London literature centre, Centreprise, comes alongside the announcement that the the amount paid to writers for Public Lending Right (PLR) is to be frozen - effectively reducing it by the amount of inflation. Taken with the wholesale withdrawal of books from public libraries (which in many cases are sent straight to the local tip) there is little doubt that the state is waging war on the whole idea of a literary culture.

Meanwhile the bloated establishment bureaucracies have managed to pull together an "aspirational" statement "What Young People Should Expect Library Services to Offer". It has taken representatives of 12 organisations and "extensive research and consultation" to produce a statement that is just 223 words long, stating the obvious that young people like everyone else expect libraries to be "warm safe and welcoming" and provide "up-to-date books and other information."

A progress report on the state of Library buildings might have been a more appropriate use of resources - a 2006 report revealed that 1 in 4 Library buildings failed to meet health & safety requirements. Have these all been put right?

Another interesting gem from the statement is that young people can expect to be involved in the appointment of library staff in future.

Arts Council Funding Cuts:,,2250784,00.html

Public Lending Right frozen:

MLA Press Release and Statement: