The Independent reports that a program of library closures around the world has led to accusations that the council is downgrading reading as a cultural pastime, and starving readers overseas of access to classic and modern British books. Council staff are unhappy at what they see as a "step too far".
Countries targeted for library closures are Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal and, in Europe, Cyprus, Serbia, Georgia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Libraries have already closed in Kuwait, Turkey, Italy, Germany and Belgium.
Feminist author Fay Weldon, who was shortlisted for the Booker prize and has read in many of the libraries is one of the main critics of the move. She said: "It seems total madness. I believe the way to win hearts and minds is through literature that seals people's empathy with one another."