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British Library - urgent action to prevent charges (fwd)

Hello, again;
Here is another message that I think is very important for the eyes of
the list. Please forgive the length...

> As some of you may know, the British Library is threatening to charge
> 300 pounds annual fee to readers.  If we mobilise enough support we can
> stop this.  Details of the campaign are given below.  It's vital that
> as many people as possible contact the Library BEFORE 28 AUGUST to
> register concern, as this will be the day the Committee meets to
> consider the charge.
> I've just been to a campaign meeting.  The next one will be held at
> 1,30pm on Saturday 5 September at the Drill Hall, 9 Chenies Street,
> London WC1.
> Please pass this message on to anyone you think might be
> interested.  Apologies if this duplicates a message you've already
> received.
> All the best
> Chris
>  _____________________________________________
>  The Board of Management suggests that the British
>  Library should no longer be free to readers.
>  The proposal is for an annual fee of 300 pounds sterling.
>  This fee would bear most heavily on students but also on the many
> other readers unable to afford it - such as visiting academics from
> developing countries. It would also apply to the Science Library,
> Newspaper Library, etc. If approved, we can confidently expect that the
> charge will increase in the future.
>  Free access to public libraries has traditionally been regarded as a
> basic democratic right in Britain. Access should not be restricted to
> those who are able to pay. In recent years, we have seen several
> attacks on free access to knowledge.
> The British Library has always been free. It is the most famous library
> in the world and such an action would have significant symbolic force,
> opening the way for similar cuts in the public sector elsewhere.
> The introduction of this charge requires government approval. If we
> mobilise enough support, we can stop it.
> A campaign has started to do just this. Up to now we have set up a
> webpage with the latest campaign news, have been holding regular
> pickets outside the Library to inform the public, collect signatures
> and donations and we have organised a public meeting on Thursday 20th
> August, 6.30.
> This meeting is being held both to publicise the issues and be a
> working meeting to further build the movement to resist the imposition
> of charges.
>                            WHAT YOU CAN DO:
>  1. This week we will be holding a regular picket at lunch-time (12-2
> pm) on Tues 18th, Weds 19th, and Thus 20th outside the Library's St
> Pancras site, and we need your support.
> 2. BEFORE 28 AUGUST contact the British Library to express your
> concern. See the British Library Strategic Review Consultation Paper at
> http://www.bl.uk and write to: The Director, The British Library, 96
> Euston Road, London NW1 2DB. Fax: 0171-412 7251.
> E-Mail: The Director. Or better still, write to the Heritage Secretary,
> Chris Smith MP, at the House of Commons, Westminister, London SW1A 2PW.
> 3. Pass on the address of this web-site to friends and colleagues who
> might wish to support our campaign:
> http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/8435/Library.html
> Tell them to ask their contacts to pass on the message in their turn.
> In this way we can set up a chain-reaction and support for the campaign
> will spread.
> 4. Come to our Public Meeting at 1,30pm on Saturday 5 September at
> the Drill Hall, 9 Chenies Street, London WC1.
> 5. Join the picket outside the British Library held all day every
> Tuesday. Sign the petition and distribute the leaflets.
> 6. Contact your Trade Union, Student Union or other interested
> organisation and tell them what we are fighting for.
> 7. Help by sending a donation made out to: "Keep The British Library
> Free" c/o Bryan Smith, 26 Devonia Road, London N1 8JH
>                    The meeting with the Director:
>  On 4th August a party of four readers had a meeting with the Director,
>  Dr Brian Lang, to express your concerns to him personally. What
> emerged from this meeting was that even were admission charges to be
> imposed there would still be a shorfall in revenue for the library of
> several million pounds. This 300 pound fee is not a solution to the
> British Library's problem.
>  Quotes:
> "Very few national libraries ever charge their readers." - The
> Director, Dr Lang, 4th August.
> "Were the British Library to come to me with a proposal to charge an
> admission fee, I would look at that suggestion very sceptically." -
> Chris Smith MP, Heritage Secretary, 24th July, "Today" programme, BBC
> Radio 4.
>  Contact us at this e-mail address or write to our postal address:
>                          "Keep The British Library Free"
>                      c/o 1 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QC
>                  Tel: Ian on 0171-249 9529 or Tithi on 0181-986 0762
>  ___________________________________________________
> ---------------------------------------
> Chris Willis (Ms)
> English Department
> Birkbeck College
> Malet St
> London WC1E 7HX
> e-mail:     c.willis@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> tel:        0171 631 6743
> fax:        0171 631 6750
> http://www.bbk.ac.uk/Departments/English/pages/~cwillis/


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