Three Lincolnshire children have written to Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, to ask if she can influence what is happening to Lincolnshire’s libraries.
The children were inspired by Mrs Obama’s recent speech where she stated libraries and museums aren’t luxuries or ‘extras’ that can be passed over while money goes toward other goals like creating jobs or teaching children, and explained that “so often our libraries and museums are doing the critical work to help us achieve those goals in the first place.”
The letters were written by three siblings from The Deepings, Sian (11), Rhiannon (13) and Rhys Morgan Plowright (seven), but focus on libraries across the county.
The children felt Mrs Obama’s words made a great deal of sense, and they hope she can influence what is happening to their local library and libraries across Lincolnshire.
The letters have now been posted to The White House, and the children are hoping to be able to report back soon with their replies.
Michelle Obama has become a role model for women and an advocate for poverty awareness, higher education, and healthy living.
I know you are the other side of the Atlantic, but I’m sure you understand the importance of what we are trying to do, and I really hope in my heart of hearts that you can help us, please you might be our only real hope?Rhiannon Morgan Plowright
Rhiannon’s letter in full:
Dear Mrs Obama
My Mum gave me some information she read about the statement you wrote saying “Libraries and museums aren’t extras or luxuries, that can be passed over while money goes towards other goals.”
I really agree with you and wanted to ask if you can help influence the people in charge of Lincolnshire County Council please? They say they need to cut the councils budgets, and for the past two years we have been trying to write to them to make them see how important the Deepings library is to us in our small market town in South Lincolnshire. Our library may have to close, unless our community takes it over to run it with volunteers. We have about 18,000 people living in our community- servicing 4 primary schools, and a large secondary school.
It’s not fair to expect that the library can be run long term by unpaid volunteers, who are already doing lots of other things in the community on a voluntary basis, like sports and youth clubs, scouts, guides groups and various other things, and working and looking after families. We just want to keep our professionally run library open, so people of all ages can enjoy reading and recycling books, but the Council are sure that it needs to save money by making the librarians redundant and closing our Grade 2 listed building – or making people run it, look after the building, let the top floor out for offices, and fund raise to bring in money so the bills can be paid.
I have been using the library since I was a baby, like my younger sister and my brother- we all love books and stories, and I really think the world would be a much worse place without a story to escape to, or to be able to use books to research for homework. If we lose our library, we all lose out, and we will never get it back- it’s been a part of my childhood, with storytimes, and craft sessions- and I really don’t want to see it disappear. Shouldn’t all children be able to access books? Lots of my friends play on their computers and phones, but this can be really unhealthy – our minds need proper exercise with our imaginations being stretched, otherwise who is going to be the next generation of storytellers, or creative developers?
My sister, brother and I have tried helping my Mum fundraise, and to help her and the community group set up to protest about and protect the library, but it looks like it’s going to be taken away from us all. We have written to our Prime Minister, the Queen and my brother even asked his friend God to intervene! It seems while they are all sympathetic, no-one really wants to stand up and fight and help us.
I know you are the other side of the Atlantic, but I’m sure you understand the importance of what we are trying to do, and I really hope in my heart of hearts that you can help us, please you might be our only real hope?
Thank you for listening
Rhiannon Morgan Plowright