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John Clare archive under threat from library cuts | Letters

Writers and academics including Hilary Mantel, Philip Pullman, Simon Armitage and Josie Long appeal to Northampton county council to preserve a unique collection of works by the great poet of the English countryside

We write with grave concern at cuts being planned to the library services across Northamptonshire, options for which are currently out for public consultation through the council’s Review of library services in Northamptonshire. While we believe any retraction of library provision will have a debilitating impact upon those who rely on them (including future generations too), we write with particular concern about a library not mentioned in the various “options” that Northamptonshire county council sets out: the Northampton central library, on Abington Street, Northampton, home to an important collection of the manuscripts and books of the poet John Clare.

The council’s plans seem to mask the fact that this library will also be hugely affected by reductions in the number, seniority, qualifications and experience of staff that will be retained in that library. Many staff in this library – not mentioned in the plans – are threatened with redundancy or an effective downgrading of their post, no matter what option is chosen.

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