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Philip Pullman: ‘Brent Council should be ashamed of itself for closing six libraries’

PUBLISHED: 16:27 21 July 2011

Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman

Archant

Best-selling authour slams plans at fund-raising event

Best-selling author Philip Pullman has said Brent Council should be ashamed of itself for wanting to close six libraries.

The writer was speaking at a charity fundraiser at Queens Park Community School, in Aylestone Avenue, last night which raised funds to save the doomed libraries.

Reading from his latest book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Pullman also spoke about where he gets his inspiration from with Kensal Rise author Maggie Gee.

The Northern Lights writer stressed the importance of libraries and signed books for the hundreds of people who turned up to hear him speak.

He said: “I think it is a bad idea for councils to close any libraries because all libraries are treasure houses which should be looked after and protected.

“Children especially are the people who can be nurtured into a love for books in libraries which they don’t easily find anywhere else.

“Libraries are the only place where they can get the love of books that will engender a life time love of reading.

“It is important because it is the fundamental thing that makes us civilised human beings.”

Pullman, who had travelled to Brent from Oxford, visited Kensal Rise Library, in Bathurst Gardens, before the hour-and-a-half long talk.

Speaking about the library, he said: “It is a great cultural monument and any council seeking to shut that library down, because of its history, should be ashamed of themselves.

“They should be made to stand in penance. They don’t know what they have got, what they have responsibility for. They have missed the point.

“Mark Twain, one of my favourite authors, is one of the greatest authors in the history of literature. An enormously witty and wise man.

“It should be a national monument. It should not be just an inconvenience for the council that they can close down at their will. “That’s the wrong way to look at it. I was very honoured to stand next to that plaque that spoke of Mark Twain opening it.”

Barham Park, Preston, Neasden, Tokyngton, Kensal Rise and Cricklewood libraries have all been earmarked to close.

A judicial review ended today in the High Court challenging the council’s decision.

The campaigners now await the verdict which will be delivered by Mr Justice Duncan Ouseley.

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