Simon Cropper

Star author puts local libraries in the spotlight

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Award-winning children’s author Michael Rosen was in Ross-on-Wye last Tuesday, gathering material for a two-part radio mini series on the future of the UK’s public libraries.

His visit took place less than two months after Herefordshire Council announced its plan to cut the county’s libraries budget by more than three quarters, and as similar pressures on libraries elsewhere in the UK continue to cause public concern.

As well as talking to library staff in Ross, the former Children’s Laureate and author of over 100 books visited the library at Peterchurch, which is run entirely by volunteers. He also interviewed Councillor Roger Phillips, cabinet member for enterprise and culture, Councillor Mark Hubbard, leader of local political party It’s Our County, and Herefordshire libraries manager Jon Chedgzoy.

Speaking to the Dragonfly after the author’s visit, Ross senior librarian Jan Nesaratnam said, “Michael Rosen liked Ross library, and said he liked the fact that it has other facets – for example, the customer service desks. But he said he could see it was still very much a library, with very strong community involvement.”

The two 30-minute programmes, entitled ‘Our Libraries: The Next Chapter’, will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 11am on Wednesday 28th August and Wednesday 4th September. The Radio 4 website is here.

Photo of Steve Jones, Jan Nesaratnam and Michael Rosen courtesy of Herefordshire Libraries.