Rhyming plea over library closures
Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson has penned a poem in protest at planned library closures.
The writer, who was named Children's Laureate and awarded the MBE last year, said she had used libraries since she was a child and still visited her local branch to research and write her best-selling books.
Her poem, released on Friday to mark National Libraries Day, describes them as places to "meet your heroes, old and new, from William the Conqueror to Winnie the Pooh".
The 62-year-old writer, who was born in London but lives in Glasgow, said she wanted to make a serious point in a fun way. She said: "It's just more interesting to put the reasons I love libraries in that form rather than write an earnest article about it. If we lose libraries, we would lose readers and we would become a less literate country."
Campaigners say hundreds of libraries face closure, with some groups taking legal action in a bid to save them.
Her Library Poem reads: "Everyone is welcome to walk through the door. It really doesn't matter if you're rich or poor. There are books in boxes and books on shelves. They're free for you to borrow, so help yourselves.
"Come and meet your heroes, old and new, from William the Conqueror to Winnie the Pooh. You can look into the Mirror or read The Times, or bring along a toddler to chant some rhymes.
"The librarian's a friend who loves to lend, so see if there's a book that she can recommend. Read that book, and if you're bitten, you can borrow all the other ones the author's written.
"Are you into battles or biography? Are you keen on gerbils or geography? Gardening or ghosts? Sharks or science fiction? There's something here for everyone, whatever your addiction.
"There are students revising, deep in concentration, and school kids doing projects, finding inspiration. Over in the corner there's a table with seating, so come along and join in the Book Club meeting. Yes, come to the library! Browse and borrow, and help make sure it'll still be here tomorrow."