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Terry Deary in the Bookseller, says,

Libraries have had their day. They are a Victorian idea and we are in an electronic age. They either have to change and adapt or they have to go.

I told my 12 year old daughter, a massive Horrible Histories fan.

Daughter: He said that?
Me: Yup
D: But he’s an author!
M: So what would you say to him?
D: (thinks for a minute) At least libraries don’t crash!

This is a tough situation. If you believe in free speech, then people are entitled to their opinion. Of course I’m entitled to mine too, and I am stunned that an author, a person who makes their living from selling books, would say anything like this.

And originally, I planned to write a whole carefully planned post about why libraries are so important and why he’s wrong. But I’m not going to. As research, I’ve been reading other interviews with Mr Deary and discovered a couple of things.

  1. He likes children reading
  2. He doesn’t care for authority or ‘The Establishment’
  3. Make himself or anyone else look good is ‘selling out’
  4. He doesn’t do his own research

This last fact is especially important in his attacks on schools as havens for adult bullies dictating useless information to quivering masses of kids terrified of the belt. His loathing of the education system may be real, but it’s rather out of date. I wonder when he was last in a classroom?

As for the libraries, they are already a part of the electronic age. Yes, there’s more that can be done, but not by chucking away books – not even yours – and not by shutting them down forever.

The irony is that someone claiming to hate authority and dictating is bad mouthing the very organisations that provide access to whatever information another person is interested in. The man wanting to stand up for the underclass, who rails against privilege, is promoting the removal of a system that provides a way to equality.

Mr Deary, you’re entitled to open your mouth and speak whenever you want to. But like it or not, people do look to you. And knowing what you’re talking about is not selling out.

Radio Times, 28th May 2011

Guardian, 5th June 2011

The Independent, 19th June 2011

Guardian, 11th April 2012

Saga, 6th November 2012

 

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