Success for Mass Lobby

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On Monday 29th October, 120 librarians, teachers, authors and young people marched and lobbied Westminster in support of school libraries. They were calling on the government to ensure that every child had equal access to the knowledge and information that a good school library provides – something that is not the case at the moment as school libraries are not statutory. Some of the lobbyists had pre-arranged meetings, whilst others “green carded” their MPs; in total, over 25 MPs were seen with the overwhelming majority being in support of the lobby aims. Since then, several MPs have written to Michael Gove, an Early Day Motion has been tabled http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/647 and many MPs have arranged to meet with their constituents again to keep them updated of progress. Lobby organisers, together with Annie Mauger, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), Mark Taylor, Director of External Relations (CILIP), Justin Tomlinson, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Libraries and students from LVS Ascot met with Liz Truss, Minister for Schools, to discuss the issues raised by the lobby. As a result of this meeting, the Minister commissioned the APPG to lead an investigation into the benefits of school libraries and to examine why some Headteachers don't recognise the value of libraries and therefore close them. Lobby organiser, Barbara Band, said “This has been a tremendously successful day and we are very pleased with the outcome, particularly as the Minister is going to look further at the issues involved. We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received and feel that we have moved a step closer to ensuring that all children have equal access to the benefits of a school library.”

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