Children’s author Michael Lawrence backs fight to save Barham Park Library

The world renowned writer says plans to shut it are morally indefensible

World renowned children’s author Michael Lawrence has spoken of the inspiration he gained growing up and reading in Barham Park Library – and branded council plans to close it ‘morally indefensible’.

The writer, who penned the Withern Rise trilogy, has added his voice to the growing campaign to save the threatened reading room, in Harrow Road, Sudbury, and is urging others to do the same.

Talking about Barham Park Library, Mr Lawrence, who grew up in Fernwood Avenue, Sudbury, said: “I owe more to that library than anyone might imagine.

“Having to date published some forty books for kids of all ages, I have never ceased to acknowledge my good fortune in living near Barham Park and being allowed to frequent its library as often as I wished.


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“It was there that I discovered what the human imagination can do via the written word, and the concomitant joys of story, language, character, to say nothing of adventure, intrigue and well-turned humour.”

Attacking Brent Council for its plans to close Barham Park library along with five others, Mr Lawrence said: “Can those in so-called authority really justify depriving children of the pleasure and knowledge that books can bring?

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“It’s bad enough that so many libraries have reduced their intake of new books in favour of computers, but to close and bar their doors to many who would not otherwise take books into their homes or be able to purchase them is quite unacceptable.

“It’s not the possibility that these high-handed councillors might deprive the country of future children’s authors that alarms me, but that this morally indefensible action will reduce many a child’s chances of expanding his or her awareness of the richness of our written and imaginative culture.

“I implore you who have the ‘power’ not to close Barham Park Library. In doing so, you will commit an unforgivable crime against the children who live in the vicinity of the park. Could you really do that, and sleep well as a result? If so, shame on you.”

Brent Council last year announced plans to close libraries in Barham Park, Tokyngton, Neasden, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, and Preston in a bid to slash �1million from its budget.

Councillors will vote on the proposals at the end of the month, and if the plans are approved, the libraries will close on April 1.

Brent Council had defended the closure plans, saying they are the result of deep, frontloaded cuts forced upon it by the Government.

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