Author speaks out over dangers of library fund cuts

WRITER Cowplain author Dee Williams at Waterlooville Library.     Picture: Malcolm Wells (110620-2580)

WRITER Cowplain author Dee Williams at Waterlooville Library. Picture: Malcolm Wells (110620-2580)

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AN AUTHOR called for an end to cuts to libraries as she gave a talk about her latest novel.

Dee Williams, who has written 21 novels about London’s impoverished docklands, said libraries were the lifeblood of our communities and encouraged literacy and knowledge.

Her candid comments at Waterlooville library come as Hampshire County Council has proposed to slash mobile library services and lay off 18 full-time staff to save £600,000 a year.

Around 450 library services across the country are threatened with the cuts.

Waterlooville library, however, has already undergone a £1m transformation and is one of the most up-to-date and well-stocked libraries in the area.

Mrs Williams, who lives in Cowplain, said the library was a ‘must’ on her shopping trip.

She said: ‘This library is lovely. It’s so bright.

‘We are in the 21st century and there are some things we do have to change.

‘They are closing 177 in the country, but not in this area. We are very lucky.

‘It’s so important for children to read and use their imagination. It’s all very well watching it on the telly, but if you can use your own imagination it’s wonderful.’

More than 30 people came to the talk to listen to how Mrs Williams got into writing.

She started writing in the 80s while she lived in Spain – struggling to type out chapters on a second-hand typewriter. She would post the chapters back to Havant & District Writers’ Circle, which she is still a member of today.

Mrs Williams, whose latest book is Moment to Remember and who has another book out in June, said libraries were a valuable resource for research when writing novels.

She uses the pictures in books from various eras to learn about customs and fashions of the time.

Mrs Williams said full-time trained staff would always be needed in libraries.

She said: ‘We need staff in libraries. They have got knowledge and can really help you.’

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