Why libraries matter

The Library Book was published in aid of The Reading Agency on National Libraries Day in the UK (4th February), and has excerpts from 23 great writers including: Alan Bennett, Stephen Fry, Zadie Smith and Julian Barnes. All royalties from The Library Book are being donated to The Reading Agency, the independent charity working to inspire more people to read more.

After yesterday’s post you will know i am a big fan of Julian Barnes and I came across an excerpt from his contribution to the above LIbrary Book called The Defence of the Book – here is a taster below….

To mark National Libraries Day, Julian Barnes adds an extra scene to his 1998 satire England, England in which he imagines what happens when the ‘National Coalition’ closes every library down. (As Sir Jack Pitman’s project for a replica version of England on the Isle of Wight proves an enormous commercial success, the mainland, or “Old England” as it has come to be known, goes into sharp decline …)

The first signs had been misleading, and greeted by some islanders with delight. After Scotland and Wales had left the Union, and Northern Ireland been reunited with the Republic, Europe lost patience with the sulky rump that remained. Decades of carping from the sidelines, while constantly demanding special favours and the repatriation of powers, were finally repaid. Germany and France, strongly backed by Europe’s newest Celtic adherents, led a swift campaign to evict England. “At last,” as the 93-year-old European President-for-Life, Angela Merkel, put it, “we are repatriating to you your powers, and not just the ones you asked for, but all the other ones as well.”

The full text is available here The Defence of the Book


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