Stephen Fry has urged Londoners to protect their local libraries from closure, stating “they save lives”. The actor and writer has spoken out as part of a campaign against the rapid decline in library numbers, with at least 64 closing in the capital in the past 18 months. He is appearing with other figures from literature and film, including Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and Harry Potter actress Bonnie Wright, in a documentary about the rise and fall of public libraries in Britain.
Fry said: “We need to understand libraries as places of education and nourishment for everyone — there is a terrible sense that libraries are just an add-on to a council building, but they save lives.”
Since 2009 more than a third of public libraries in Britain have closed, and more than half of mobile libraries have been lost in the past five years. It is estimated that a further 111 libraries will close nationwide this year.