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Speak Up For Libraries: lobby parliament on Tuesday

Join library users from across the UK and tell MPs that supporting libraries is essential.

On Tuesday 13 March 2012, a rally and lobby of parliament will take place to highlight the importance of libraries in providing access to learning, information and knowledge and as a vital lifeline for many communities.

Everybody who supports public libraries is welcome to attend.

The lobby has been organised by the Speak Up For Libraries coalition, an alliance of organisations and campaigners working to protect libraries and library staff, now and in the future.

Public libraries and staff have a long and proud tradition of providing open access to information and promoting literacy. During times of recession, they are more vital than ever.

Public library services and staff are currently under threat from cuts on a massive scale. Of the 4,612 public libraries in the UK, an estimated 10% have either been closed or are under threat. The number of paid staff in libraries has fallen by 4% over the past year, while the number of volunteers has increased by 22%.

Local campaigns are taking place all over the UK to counter threats to library services. We are asking local library users, campaigners and library staff to come together to Speak Up for Libraries in Westminster on 13 March and send a clear message to MPs.

We are calling on MPs to take action to ensure library services are sustained and developed into the 21st century.

We need action now to safeguard the future of the public library service as a whole.

On the same day as the rally and lobby of parliament, Minister for Culture, Communications & the Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, will be giving evidence to the select committee Inquiry into library closures. We will be screening this at Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate Westminster, London SW1H 9NH from 10.30am.

The rally will take place from 12 noon, also at Central Hall, and will include high profile speakers, entertainment and films all telling the same story – libraries are a valued and vital resource. Visit the 'pop up' library during the rally and see for yourself the many faces of a modern library. The lobby of parliament will start at 2.30pm.

Join library users from across the UK who want to tell their MP that supporting public library services is essential.

Please sign up here to support the campaign and let us know if you are coming to the lobby and rally.

Arrange to meet with your MP on the day and tell them now is the time to act to protect libraries. Even if you can't come to the lobby, you can still get involved by distributing flyers publicising the event, and by writing to your MP, highlighting why public libraries are so important.

Further details about the event can be found on our website.

You can also follow Speak Up For Libraries on Twitter (@SpeakUp4Libs) and on our Facebook community and Facebook event pages.

We hope to see many of you in London on 13 March, when we will all Speak Up For Libraries.

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