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Community Fights Closure of Mark Twain’s Library

Community Fights Closure of Mark Twain’s Library


Kensal Rise Library, a public library in London, was founded by author Mark Twain in 1900. The library has served as a resource for nearby schools and the reading community, but the doors have been locked for more than a year due to budget cuts. When municipal workers arrived on Wednesday to clear the remaining books from the shelves, community members blocked the doors so that they would be unable to enter.

“This library could be lost to everyone and could be turned into flats or knocked down — we don’t know,” said Jodi Gramigni, who joined the protest in hopes of saving the library (USA Today).

Kensal Rise Library is one of six libraries closed because of the 50% budget cuts. Council members voted to close the libraries in order to divert remaining funds into a library in a civic center that receives more visitors. For now, volunteers have established “a small free-loan library outside to distribute books to the community” (MSNBC).

Local author Maggie Gee wrote an essay about Kensal Rise Library in support of keeping it open, which describes the benefits the library brings to the community and a history of how Mark Twain came to establish it. To those who want to preserve Mark Twain’s library, she says:

The Library was the culmination of a big attempt to improve a very poor area in the last decade of the century, as housing became denser… Kensal Rise Public Reading Rooms made newspapers, and later books, available for everyone to read.

Come along and enjoy the Library — it belongs to all of us. If you’re on Facebook, join our “Save Kensal Rise Library” Facebook group. Mark Twain said, “Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly so often.”

Take Action: Sign the petition to save the library!


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Photo credit: CCAC North Library

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8:43AM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

i posted a news about that cause, it gets 11 notes, enough said1

6:17PM PDT on May 25, 2012

How tragic would it be if it were to be closed? This shouldn't happen.

8:53PM PDT on May 21, 2012

please leave it open!

7:47PM PDT on May 21, 2012

A petition to save the Kensal Rise library is now live! Sign it here:

7:45PM PDT on May 21, 2012

A petition to save the Kensal Rise library is now live! Sign it here:

8:53AM PDT on May 21, 2012

Keep it open. Where is the petition to save the library here on Care2, or is there one yet? Thanks for the article Anne.

10:10PM PDT on May 20, 2012

How can that be acceptable? So sad!

7:57PM PDT on May 20, 2012

It's sad that library budget cuts are forcing closures (Holy 50%, Batman!) but could they save this historical library, cut a more recently built library, and rent that space out/convert it?

3:54AM PDT on May 20, 2012

Is not Mark Twain's library also American Heritage ? Is that not worth saving ?

8:01PM PDT on May 19, 2012

It is very sad that a library founded by author Mark Twain was one of the casualties in the budget crisis and austerity measures in London. It is sadder still because the library supports a poor and underprivileged community. Books allow readers to learn, develope and escape to new places and experiences. They enrich our lives. It was President Thomas Jefferson who wrote "I cannot live without books." I whole heartedly concur.

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