Oh the suffragette and the librarian can be friends…

This is a response to something I read on a blog (linked in title-warning it is a link to a political party blog, this is no way infers my support for that political party I just saw it on twitter) quoting ANOTHER blog (though the linked article was a response against that blog) comparing the suffragette movement to the #savelibraries movement. Sorry if that’s a little complicated, but it got me wound up and as ever, wanted to have a little rant.

Once again, and again, and again, the value of libraries is not understood. All we can keep doing is saying again, and again, and again, libraries are needed, and are important, and should not be infringed.

Again I in no way represent any other members of Leeds Book Club in my opinion of this matter.

Reasons why there is NOT a “universe of difference between library closures and not allowing women to vote.”

1. Librarianship is still a dominantly femo-centric profession; this is especially true of the public sector. Closing them would have a massive impact on women’s lives.

2. Without access to free, current and unbiased information on what movement/political; consciousness you are voting for, and the history of that movement/political consciousness, suffrage is a false concept.

3. A third of the adults in this country do not have an English level higher than Level 3. Information presented in popular media that is suitable for this reading level is predominantly right-wing in bias. Libraries work with schemes such as Quick Reads/The Reader Organisation/The Reading Agency to encourage bringing people to reading, and provide access to information on both sides of the political spectrum. Without this, again, true suffrage, in which adults are voting based on who they want to represent them (one of the arguments for women’s universal suffrage was that women should have representatives on issues relating predominantly to women) cannot occur.

4. Libraries provide access to computers and the internet. The minimum wage in this country is below a living wage, and many professions, predominantly those in the care industries, which again are predominantly femo-centric also earn below £14,500 a year per household. The Rowntree Foundation acknowledges that having home access to the internet is now considered a necessity and one of the things that people not on a living wage do without. Many political campaigns are run entirely, or with huge support, online. A friend working in a nursery school had not heard of the 26 March demonstration until that day, for example, because they are not a member or a union, neither are anyone in their workplace, and the campaign was otherwise almost exclusively run by organisations whose main focus primarily uses Web 2.0. It can be argued that libraries, by providing free access to the internet, and by having members of staff on hand who can assist people in using Web 2.0, are contributing to the protest movement and political process merely by providing a portal to it for those who would otherwise have no access .

5. If they took away my vote, I would have no way of representing my own views. If they took away my library, I’d have no way of shaping my own views in the first place.



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