Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Save Botley Library Campaign to be featured on today's BBC tv News!

Many thanks to everyone who helped with yesterday’s extremely successful petition signing and letter writing event in Botley. And many thanks to everyone who signed our petition and who signed/wrote letters to Cllr Keith Mitchell and Nicola Blackwood MP.

A report on yesterday’s activities will be broadcast on the ‘South Today’ programme following today’s (Sunday’s) BBC1 News Bulletin at 5.30pm.

Our campaign also featured as the lead story on yesterday morning’s Radio Oxford News Bulletins.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Petition signing and letter writing in Botley this Saturday!

The Save Botley Library campaign will be holding a petition signing and letter writing event in Seacourt Hall and the Pagoda in Botley precint on Saturday (29th January), from 9am-1pm. The letters, expressing opposition to the county council's plans to cease funding for Botley- and 19 other Oxfordshire libraries, will be addressed to County Council leader Keith Mitchell, and local MP Nicola Blackwood.

Come along and join the fight to save our library!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Philip Pullman: Leave Our Libraries Alone

On 20th January, best-selling author and local resident Philip Pullman addressed a packed meeting in Oxford Town Hall called by the Oxfordshire Anti-Cuts Alliance to defend our county's threatened libraries. Here is an extract from his truly inspirational speech. And you can read a full account of the meeting here, including the contribution made by Save Botley Library spokesperson Neil Clark.

You don’t need me to give you the facts. Everyone here is aware of the situation. The government, in the Dickensian person of Mr Eric Pickles, has cut the money it gives to local government, and passed on the responsibility for making the savings to local authorities. Some of them have responded enthusiastically, some less so; some have decided to protect their library service, others have hacked into theirs like the fanatical Bishop Theophilus in the year 391 laying waste to the Library of Alexandria and its hundreds of thousands of books of learning and scholarship.

Here in Oxfordshire we are threatened with the closure of 20 out of our 43 public libraries. Mr Keith Mitchell, the leader of the county council, said in the Oxford Times last week that the cuts are inevitable, and invites us to suggest what we would do instead. What would we cut? Would we sacrifice care for the elderly? Or would youth services feel the axe?

I don’t think we should accept his invitation. It’s not our job to cut services. It’s his job to protect them.

Nor do I think we should respond to the fatuous idea that libraries can stay open if they’re staffed by volunteers. What patronising nonsense. Does he think the job of a librarian is so simple, so empty of content, that anyone can step up and do it for a thank-you and a cup of tea? Does he think that all a librarian does is to tidy the shelves? And who are these volunteers? Who are these people whose lives are so empty, whose time spreads out in front of them like the limitless steppes of central Asia, who have no families to look after, no jobs to do, no responsibilities of any sort, and yet are so wealthy that they can commit hours of their time every week to working for nothing?

You can read the whole of Philip Pullman‘s inspirational speech here.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Oxfordshire County Council has proposed that 20 libraries in the county including Botley Library, will close unless volunteers step forward to run them. On 13th January around 400 people attended the Parish Council Meeting in St Peter and Paul Church in Botley regarding this closure.

After the meeting the Save the Botley Library campaign was formed.

The Save Botley Library campaign has been set up to fight against proposals to either close Botley Library or for it to be transferred to the responsibility of the local community. The campaign opposes both of these options and seeks to ensure that the Botley library remains an active part of the Oxfordshire Library group, staffed by professional librarians.

If Botley library were to close, the nearest library to Botley would be the Oxford Central library, meaning either a bus journey or car trip, making the library visit a significantly longer process.

The Council proposal total ignores the role of Botley Library as part of our community, which is much more than the issuing of books. This is borne out by the fact that the number of visits to the library exceed to number of books issue. The professional librarians at Botley provide advice not only through books in the reference library, but also for those who do not have access to the Internet and e-mail at home. The library provides the only facility to book time on computers in Botley, which the council made much of at the time of introduction. It is also the only place in Botley to hire DVDs and to make photocopies. The library is also used by local Primary Schools during lesson time, a facility highly valued by the school and pupils alike. The suggestion from the Council that improvements in school libraries make up for this is vacuous.
Please join our campaign to help ensure that this much-loved community facility remains open and staffed by professional librarians.

If we all work together we can win!


1. Join our campaign. Get in touch with us by emailing


In the first instance, you can contact the following to express your opposition to the County Council‘s policy on libraries. A letter has much more impact than an email, but an email is better than nothing! (In any case, it will be helpful if you can copy your email/letter to this address: (
To the County Council:

Cllr Keith Mitchell,
Leader of Oxfordshire County Council,
County Hall,
Oxford OX1 1ND

John Jackson, Director for Social and Community Services
Social and Community Services,
County Hall,
New Road,
Oxford, OX1 1ND

Our local MP:

Nicola Blackwood MP
House of Commons,

3. Sign both the paper petition and the online petition to Save Botley library. (the petition expires on 27th January).