Saturday, 5 March 2011

World Book Night Comes to Shepton

I was asked to attend the presentation of the World Book Night in Hanover Housing here in Shepton, this is what I said.

I like to congratulate Gina for winning one of the national World Book Prizes and thank Gina and Hanover Housing for this invitation to this evening’s event that is a part of the World book Night, this event puts Shepton at the heart of an evening national event. Which culminates in television programmes, , readings, book parties and a nationwide celebration of the written word.

A million free books have been given away free to individual members of our communities today; an ambitious initiative to spread a buzz about the joy of reading, up and down the country.

Philip Pullman, whose book Northern Lights has been chosen by Gina is said to be thrilled by the World book Night, he says, "it’s a very original idea and yet so obvious to give books to people they enjoy and then they will go read more books and he hopes it will revive interest in reading."

Northern lights are a part of a trilogy, His Dark Materials, consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

I will confess not to have read any of these books, so as not to disappoint you, thinking your local councillors don’t read books, I’m currently reading Attlee a life in politics my last books include Chris Mullins Diaries (View from the foothills and decline and fall), Paul Masons Live Working or Die Fighting: How The Working Class Went Global and Borrowed Time: The Story of Britain Between the Wars by Roy Hattersley. The next book is by Will Hutton Them and Us: Changing Britain - Why We Need a Fair Society – now I probably have just confirmed how boring I am!

I hope you enjoy the northern lights book and then want to read the remaining two books in the trilogy, and I sure these books can be hired from our library.

Like Phillip Pullman we in Shepton have fought hard to keep our Library from closure, we saw the closure of our library as cultural vandalism, libraries are a community resource that are used by young and old alike, whether for hire of books or for computers, this greater knowledge gives personal confidence and improves quality of life.

I was greatly heartened when standing in the snow on New Years Eve asking people to sign our Save our Library petition and people queued to do so and people turned out in their hundreds to public meetings, together we stood together and saved our libraries all be it with a 20% cut..

Libraries presence at the heart of our town sends the proud signal that everyone – whoever they are, whatever their educational background, whatever their age or their needs – is welcome. Free and fair access to books is a part of a civilized society

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