The Library Book (Profile Books, 2012)

Notes on this edition: Julian Barnes. “The Defence of the Book.” The Library Book. London: Profile Books, 2012. Pp. 180 + [2]. 18.5 x 11.5 cm.

As part of the austerity policies sweeping through England, library cuts and closures became all too common an occurrence. In 2012, The Library Book was published in support of The Reading Agency’s efforts to promote libraries and reading.

In addition to Julian Barnes, several other authors contributed pieces to the book, including Zadie Smith, Alan Bennettt, Stephen Fry, James Brown, Anita Anand, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Luch Mangan, Seth Godin, Val McDermid, Lionel Shriver, Bella Bathurst, China Miéville, Caitlin Moran, Tom Holland, Susan Hill, Michael Brooks, Bali Rai, Ann Cleeves, Julie Myerson, Nicky Wire, Kate Mosse, Karin Slaughter, and Miranda McKerney.

Barnes’s contribution “The Defence of the Book” (pp. 9-13) claims to be “From a proposed second edition of England, England“, and it outlines the collapse of libraries and reading in England after Sir Jack Pitman’s theme park has brought forth the economic decline of ‘Old England’. Barnes published his piece of short fiction in The Guardian during National Libraries Day in February 2012.