Three Lincolnshire children have written to Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, to ask if she can influence what is happening to Lincolnshire’s libraries.
The children, all from the same family in The Deepings, were inspired by Mrs Obama’s recent speech where she stated libraries and museums aren’t luxuries or ‘extras’ that can be passed over while money goes toward other goals like creating jobs or teaching children, and explained that “so often our libraries and museums are doing the critical work to help us achieve those goals in the first place.” The children felt Mrs Obama’s words made a great deal of sense, and they hope she can influence what is happening to their local library and libraries across Lincolnshire. The letters have now been posted to The White House, and the children are hoping to be able to report back soon with their replies.
CHILDREN’S LETTERS IN FULL:
Dear Mrs Obama
My Mum gave me some information she read about the statement you wrote saying “Libraries and museums aren’t extras or luxuries, that can be passed over while money goes towards other goals.”
I really agree with you and wanted to ask if you can help influence the people in charge of Lincolnshire County Council please? They say they need to cut the councils budgets, and for the past two years we have been trying to write to them to make them see how important the Deepings library is to us in our small market town in South Lincolnshire. Our library may have to close, unless our community takes it over to run it with volunteers. We have about 18,000 people living in our community- servicing 4 primary schools, and a large secondary school.
It’s not fair to expect that the library can be run long term by unpaid volunteers, who are already doing lots of other things in the community on a voluntary basis, like sports and youth clubs, scouts, guides groups and various other things, and working and looking after families. We just want to keep our professionally run library open, so people of all ages can enjoy reading and recycling books, but the Council are sure that it needs to save money by making the librarians redundant and closing our Grade 2 listed building – or making people run it, look after the building, let the top floor out for offices, and fund raise to bring in money so the bills can be paid.
I have been using the library since I was a baby, like my younger sister and my brother- we all love books and stories, and I really think the world would be a much worse place without a story to escape to, or to be able to use books to research for homework. If we lose our library, we all lose out, and we will never get it back- it’s been a part of my childhood, with storytimes, and craft sessions- and I really don’t want to see it disappear. Shouldn’t all children be able to access books? Lots of my friends play on their computers and phones, but this can be really unhealthy – our minds need proper exercise with our imaginations being stretched, otherwise who is going to be the next generation of storytellers, or creative developers?
My sister, brother and I have tried helping my Mum fundraise, and to help her and the community group set up to protest about and protect the library, but it looks like it’s going to be taken away from us all. We have written to our Prime Minister, the Queen and my brother even asked his friend God to intervene! It seems while they are all sympathetic, no-one really wants to stand up and fight and help us.
I know you are the other side of the Atlantic, but I’m sure you understand the importance of what we are trying to do, and I really hope in my heart of hearts that you can help us, please you might be our only real hope?
Thank you for listening
Rhiannon Morgan Plowright
Dear Mrs Obama
My Mum mentioned that she had read some information regarding a statement you had released promoting the importance of museums and libraries and the link with children’s education, and suggested I write to you to ask if you can help support us in our battle trying to save our library ion the Deepings, in South Lincolnshire, England.
We have been actively protesting via letters and petitions for the last 2 years, to try and make decision makers realise the importance of our library to the whole community. We have over 18,000 people living in the Deepings, and it supports 4 really good Primary schools, and an outstanding Secondary School, the population is still growing, yet it seems the Council want to cut our services – and make volunteers run them or else close them, to save money. To me it is not saving money, if the library closes, as both children and elderly people will lose out, and we will lose an important part of the heart our community, which we won’t get back.
To run the library with volunteers won’t work either, as long term people will get fed up of giving up their time for nothing, when it should be a respected paid job. I wonder what will happen when I’m older, the way its going we will all be forced to work for nothing, its going back to the way the Victorians lived! My Mum has been helping to fight against stopping the library close, as she loves reading and thinks its so important for children to have access to books, but if she has to help work in the library as a volunteer her family will miss her, and we will then lose out, why should people have to run these services for nothing in their own time, to the cost of their own families?
So many of my friends don’t read many books, they would rather watch TV, or play on iPads, phones or PlayStations- if the libraries close, then there will be even less hope of parents encouraging their children to read and buy books. Recycling and reusing books is a good environmentally friendly thing to do- we should be encouraging public libraries, not closing them!
We have just about reached the end of the road with the library campaign, and my Mum is so fed up and worn out with the whole thing, we are about ready to give up and walk away from it. Please can you help by talking to Lincolnshire County Council to make them see sense before it is too late?
Thanks for listening,
Sian Morgan Plowright (aged 11)
Dear Mrs Obama ,
Please can you tell Lincolnshire County Council not to try and close our library in Deeping, South Lincolnshire, UK, because I have known it since I was a tiny baby? It helps me improve my reading and spelling and makes my vocabulary get better. Other children should be able to have the chance to use the library too. It should not be run by volunteers, because we need our proper librarians back, to stop the library closing- they really help me and run lovely storytimes. Pretty please can you help us?
Lots of Love
(Rhys Morgan Plowright – aged 7)