Maggie Fergusson, Director of the Royal Society of Literature has sent this message from the President, Chair and Council of the Royal Society of Literature to Sir John Vickers, Warden of All Souls College, Oxford, ahead of its property meeting on Saturday 9 June.
The Council of the Royal Society of Literature has for many years actively campaigned against the closure of public libraries. We write to express our concern over the plight of Kensal Rise Library, recently stripped of books, commemorative plaques and furniture in a night raid by Brent Council. As we understand it, their action means the library building may revert to All Souls’ ownership.
The Friends of Kensal Rise Library is a charity set up last year to keep the library running, backed by our Vice President and former Chair, Maggie Gee, and by a committed local population who have, it seems, proved their mettle by maintaining an improvised “pop-up library” on site since the doors of the library closed in October 2011.
The defence of Kensal Rise Library, opened by Mark Twain in 1900, is a cause which has caught the imaginations of many writers and intellectuals. All Souls College is of course renowned both for its intellectual traditions and for its Codrington Library.
We now urge you to make a stand for public libraries and education at this vital juncture by exercising your discretion under charity law in favour of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library.
Colin Thubron (President)
Anne Chisholm (Chair)
Robert Binyon, Anthony Gardner, Romesh Gunesekera, David Harsent, Paula Johnson, Caroline Moorehead, Andrew O’Hagan, Peter Parker, Piers Plowright, Fiona Sampson, Helen Simpson, Ali Smith, Jeremy Treglown, Timberlake Wertenbaker (Council)
The Royal Society of Literature Somerset House Strand London WC2R 1LA
020 7845 4676