Members of the House of Lords, including Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue, Baroness Rebuck, chair of Random House UK and Baroness Hollins, founder of social enterprise Books Beyond Words, will this week debate the importance of libraries, independent bookshops and booksellers in the UK.
The debate, which will be opened by Lord Bird – his second balloted debate – will be held in the House of Lords on Thursday 13 October.
Speaking ahead of the debate, he said:
It is hard to overstate the contribution that libraries, independent bookshops and booksellers make to our lives. They are at the centre of the health and wellbeing of our local communities – intellectually, culturally, socially and physically.”
“Given the fundamental importance of literacy in efforts to prevent and dismantle poverty, I firmly believe that they need continued support from both central and local government across the UK.
I am asking that measures such as rates and taxes be lessened for bookshops in order to keep them buoyant, and that the UK Government sets a clear vision as to how it will promote, improve and strengthen our vital public library service.
This debate on Thursday will be an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the current challenges that libraries, independent bookshops and booksellers face – and to set out a plan as to how we can best safeguard their long-term future.
Other Members scheduled to speak include:
Lord Collins of Highbury
Bishop St Albans
Lord Ashton of Hyde will respond on behalf of the Government.
The debate is expected to start at some point after 2pm on Thursday 13 October. Members of the media and public are welcome to attend.
A full list of speakers to date can be found at www.lordswhips.org.uk.
A list in the order in which Members will speak will be available on the day.
The debate can be watched live at www.parliamentlive.tv and a transcript will be available approximately three hours from the start of the debate on Hansard.