Novelist Zadie Smith can't be pleased at the news that the Kensal Rise, a library in northwest London that Mark Twain founded in 1900, is closing down. Smith studied there as a teenager, and has campaigned to keep it open, along with another five local libraries in danger of losing funding. Despite the efforts of Smith and other writers, including The Golden Compass author Phillip Pullman, all six libraries have gotten the chop.
In her campaign to save the library, Smith spoke of the necessary resource libraries are for the poor. "It's always difficult to explain to people with money what it's like to have very little," Smith said in March, at an event in support of Kensal Rise. "It's all very well replacing local libraries with enormous libraries--but for those families for whom getting on a train to visit the British Library is inconceivable, having a local branch 100 yards from your front door can change your life."