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Star authors back UK library drive

1st December 2011

Bestselling authors including Orange Prize for Fiction chair Joanna Trollope and adventurer Ben Fogle are to attend library openings and special events as part of a renewed drive by the publishing industry to keep libraries open across the UK.

Writers have added their backing to that of industry chief executives and millions of readers, who are campaigning against plans to close hundreds of libraries across the country as a result of government spending cuts.

Fogle and Trollope will be the first to attend the opening of refurbished libraries - in Canada Water and Mansfield, respectively - paving the way for dozens of other authors to attend events opposing the closure of public libraries.

Joanna Prior, managing director of Penguin's general division, told the Evening Standard that her organisation will also be helping to raise awareness of the support required by the nation's libraries to stay open and continue promoting reading among people of all ages.

'In 2012, we will stitch libraries into the fabric of our big industry reading promotions, push library membership and help tell a positive PR story about the importance of libraries to a healthy reading nation,' she added.

Tony Durcan, president of the Society of Chief Librarians, this week revealed that at least 40 new or refurbished libraries are set to open in 2012 and said they continue to play a 'positive role' in helping to stimulate the public's love of books.

If booksellers can raise the profile of the public library service and encourage people to read, it can 'only be a good thing', he noted.

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