Novelist Jeanette Winterson calls for library expansion 小說家溫特森籲擴增圖書館

Thu, Dec 20, 2012 - Page 10

Speaking at the inaugural Reading Agency Lecture at the British Library, award-winning author Jeanette Winterson suggested the cost could be met by Google, Amazon and Starbucks.

The three companies were recently grilled about tax avoidance before a committee of MPs. The firms have paid little UK corporation tax although they argue that they operate within tax rules.

Winterson said, “Either we stop arguing and agree that libraries are doing their best to reinvent themselves, and that with a bit of help, financial and ideological — they belong to the future, or we let them run down until they disappear.”

“Libraries cost about 1 billion pounds (US$1.6 billion) to run right now. Make it 2 billion pounds and charge Google, Amazon and Starbucks all that back tax on their profits here.”

Winterson also offered the companies in question another option — “do an Andrew Carnegie and build us new kinds of libraries.”

About 600 libraries across England have reportedly closed as local councils face cuts in income. However a recent report by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee denied that figure, quoting Culture Minister Ed Vaizey as saying the estimate was “very wide of the mark” and that a “truer picture would be about a tenth of that.”

Other libraries affected by the cuts have reduced opening hours, cut staff or transferred the running of libraries to volunteers.

(Liberty Times)

作品曾經獲獎的作家溫特森在大英圖書館舉行的「閱讀協會講座」開幕演講中建議,增設圖書館的經費可以由Google、亞馬遜和星巴克等公司來支付。

這三家公司最近因為避稅而在英國國會小組委員會中遭到議員圍剿。這些公司在英國繳交的企業稅極少,卻辯稱它們都是依照稅務法規定行事。

溫特森指出,「除非我們現在就停止爭執,同意各圖書館正盡全力重新打造新面目,只要多一點協助,不論是財務或意識形態上的協助,它們就能屬於未來,否則我們就眼睜睜地看著它們繼續破敗下去直到消失為止。」

「圖書館目前的營運經費約為十億英鎊。把經費提高到二十億英鎊(十六億美元),並要求Google、亞馬遜和星巴克補繳它們在英國營業獲利理應繳交的稅金。」

溫特森還提供這些公司另一項選擇—「仿效(慈善家)卡內基,替我們興建新形態的圖書館。」

據傳全英大約已有六百間圖書館因地方議會面臨收入短缺窘境而關閉。然而文化、媒體暨運動小組委員會在最近的一份報告中否認上述數據,並引述文化部長維澤的話說,這項估計「錯得離譜」,「真正的數字大約只有十分之一。」

其他受預算裁減影響的圖書館則採取縮短營運時間、裁撤員工或把圖書館營運轉移給志工等方式來因應。

(自由時報/翻譯:俞智敏)