Tonight I cannot help but be reminded of the words of Sir Winston Churchill. There seems to be an all out war on libraries. We are attacked on many fronts. The sacrifice that we are asked to take during these economic hardships are unbalanced. Libraries are in a “long series of fierce battles, now on this front, now on that, fighting” on many fronts at once.
“How long it will be, how long it will last depends upon the exertions which we make on our island” of knowledge. “An effort, the like of which has never been seen in our records, is now being made. Work is proceeding night and day. Sundays and week days.” We have taken to the streets, to the air waves, and through all communication channels available to us. For we realize that our voice, a single and collective voice, is our weapon.
We are thankful for the many thousands and tens of thousands whom have risen up in defensive of public libraries. They have made sacrifice in time, money and hard work.
“We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in” in the streets “and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength” through social media and collective action. “We shall defend our island” of knowledge “whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on” on the steps of the capital, at the ballot box, and in the boards . “We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island” of knowledge “or a large part of it were subjugated” and librarians “starving, then our” colleagues beyond the seas, armed” with knowledge “and guarded by” the principles of democracy and an informed citizenry, “will carry on the struggle until in God’s good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old.”
How these words give me hope. Hope to continue to fight. Hope to continue until the hour in which libraries are liberated from budget cuts. Hope that we will continue until libraries everywhere vanish.
This is our call. It is our choice to answer.