"I joined my local public library, Battersea Rise, when I was seven. My parents [actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales] took me – not all parents do. I read Watership Down a couple of years after joining, and it floored me. With no idea how to replace it in my affections, my mum took me back and we returned with The Hobbit and that was that. But libraries must be there for children to find by themselves, and to have a quiet, safe, free place to study if life at home is too noisy. With the threats to Sure Start and the scrapping of EMA, it's useful to remind ourselves of what libraries mean to children: not only a place to work but also a free treasure trove of picture books to share and a place to stumble on new stuff. A child can get through a different picture book every night at bedtime. How many parents can afford to buy that many?"See the Twitter hashtag #savelibraries for more perspectives on the importance of libraries.
Steven Isserlis and Anne Dudley will publicise their upcoming concert on Front Row on 27 January. The Steven Isserlis Family Concert is on 29 January at the Wigmore Hall, with performances from Sam, Steven and Tom Poster.