From the office: We must fight back against cuts

By Editor, 11 December 2014 - 1:26pm

Family historians must raise their voices against the savage cuts to library and archive services, says editor Sarah Williams

Thursday 1 December 2014
Sarah Williams, editor
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I admit I was shocked. I know that budgets are tight, I know that libraries are being squeezed, but when I heard that the new flagship Library of Birmingham was set to lose over half its staff and have its opening hours slashed, I was shocked.

This news comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Government cuts threaten the Imperial War Museum’s library and research centre. A move that seems particularly badly timed during the centenary and after spending millions on its new First World War galleries.

Of course the reality is that our country has been spending more than it has been earning for the past ten years and with a national debt that is apparently growing by £2 billion a week something needs to be done.

However, there is a danger that if we sit quietly by and let this happen, those whose job it is to balance the books will start to think that libraries and archives don’t matter. If nobody complains, then nobody cares. As my mother always used to say ‘it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.’

Perhaps now is the time for us to become that squeaky wheel. We’ve just sent our January issue to press and in it, our columnist Alan Crosby calls for people to support their local archive by joining their Friends groups. Friends can give archive users a voice, help with fundraising, lobby councillors and MPs and help safeguard the future of our heritage. Even if you don’t have the time to join a Friends group, your voice can still be heard through social media and lobbying.

I couldn’t put it better than he does as he ends his column: “We owe it to posterity – to future generations – to preserve, protect and cherish these priceless and irreplaceable assets, and we owe it to ourselves to recognize that the ability to research and discover the past is not trivial or unimportant, but is fundamental to our awareness of who we are and what society is.”

 

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From the office: Devon sent
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10 things in family history to look forward to in 2015
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