Best selling author slams Brent Council’s decision to close six libraries

Jacqueline Wilson dubs the decision ‘short-sighted’

Best-selling children’s author Jacqueline Wilson has described Brent Council’s decision to close six libraries as “short-sighted”.

The writer of the popular Tracy Beaker books gave a special talk at St Martin’s Church, in Mortimer Road, Kensal Green, on Wednesday in front of more than 100 excited youngsters.

After speaking to the children about becoming an author, she spent more than an hour signing books.

Speaking exclusively to the Times, she said: “For years I happened to be the most borrowed author in libraries.

“It is obvious that lots of children use them. When I was a child, generally all my books were borrowed from libraries.

“It’s dreadful that libraries are under threat and their staff too.”

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The council wants to close Barham Park, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Neasden, Preston and Tokyngton libraries despite opposition.

Campaigners fighting to save the popular reading rooms took the local authority to the High Court earlier this year and the outcome of a judicial review is expected in October.

When asked what she thought of the council’s decision, Ms Wilson said: “I think it is such a shame. It is short sighted. You should be encouraging kids to enjoy reading and it benefits them for the rest of their lives.

“Most authors’ books are not available in supermarkets. Cash strapped families with keen readers may not have enough money to keep buying books. They haven’t thought this through.”

While queuing to get her copy of The Lottie Project signed, Mimosa Canneti, 12, said: “Libraries are very interesting and I learn a lot when I visit my local one. I go there to borrow books and to do my homework.”

Mimosa’s father, Alex, a dad-of-two who lives with his family in Ashburnham Road, Kensal Rise, said: “My daughter is a big fan of Jacqueline Wilson and both my children use the library. This area has one of the lowest literacy rates in London. That is why we can’t let our libraries close. It will be the borough’s most vulnerable who will suffer.”