Poet laureate begins tour of nation's libraries in Ashby-de-la-Zouch
The poet laureate Simon Armitage is to begin a 10-year tour of the UK's libraries, launching it via a livestreamed reading in Ashby-de-la-Zouch on 26 April. Each spring he will perform live readings across the UK, from the libraries of big cities to smaller libraries serving rural and remote communities. Beginning with the letters "A" and "B" this spring, the tour launches in in Ashby-de-la-Zouch and will visit a variety of libraries during the week, stopping in Belper, Aberdeen, Bacup and Bootle. Readings from the first week of his trip will be streamed live from 26 April to 1 May.
Armitage said: "My experience of reading and writing began in the village library where I grew up, then in the nearby town library, then in libraries at various places of study and teaching. For many people they are an invaluable aspect of everyday life, giving access not just to books but to services, learning, conversation and creative thinking. I want to pay my respects to these unique institutions. By planning readings up to a decade in advance I’m being optimistic about the future of our libraries, and challenging those authorities who would consider closing them down.
"It would have been easy to stream these events from my office or garden shed, but at a time when libraries are under threat and have been out of bounds during lockdown, reading from inside their physical structures feels like an act of solidarity — with books, with poetry and with communities.”