Council bans Poet Ian McMillan from library event due to fears of “political comments”

Poet, broadcaster and comedian Ian McMillan has been banned from appearing at a childrens’ creative writing workshop by Sheffield City Council, over fears he might make “political comments”.

The event was due to take place at Upperthorpe Library, and was intended to highlight the value of public libraries. The cancellation was reported earlier today by Library Workers For A Brighter Future, a group working in opposition to proposed cuts to public libraries. The cancellation was later confirmed by a spokesperson for Mr McMillan.

McMillan, 55, said: “Libraries are a vital and irreplaceable part of a cultured and civilised society, and one of the few public places left where you don’t have to pay to get in.”

Sheffield’s libraries are expected to see a £2.5m cut in funding by 2013/14.

A spokesperson for Library Workers For A Brighter Future said: “The event, conceived as a fun and creative way of highlighting the value of public libraries, appears to have caused great concern for the council, with the decision over whether it should be allowed to go ahead passed all the way up to members of the senior management. We view this as a misguided and heavy-handed attempt to silence those of us who want to stand up for our library service and oppose the potentially devastating public sector cuts.”

SheffieldPolitics has contacted Sheffield City Council, who were unable to confirm the reason for the cancellation at the time of publication.


8 responses to “Council bans Poet Ian McMillan from library event due to fears of “political comments”

  1. They might as well ban every writer in the country then! I’ll be at Bawtry Library supporting the library users there as part of the Read – In on Saturday.
    Many other writers are doing the same up and down the UK. What is this? Stalinist Russia?

  2. This is ridiculous. Ian McMillan is fab, and would be perfect for a kids’ creative writing event. This is a loss to them, and why? Because the guy believes in the power of libraries?

  3. I clearly remember a physically devastated Sheffield in the early 1950’s.
    This banning of Ian MacMillan seems to signify a different kind of devastation but one every bit as sad – a cultural devastation at odds with the reputation Sheffield has worked so hard to establish in recent years.
    As a writer, I am appalled by this action.

  4. Shhh!

    11am Saturday 5th February – Central Library, Surrey Street

    Show your support for Sheffield Libraries, Archives and Information service, and libraries across the country, by turning up at Sheffield Central Library on Surrey Street for the National Day of Action for Libraries and take part in a mass Shhh-In.

    Shhh-In rules…

    1. Finger to lips.
    2. At 11am say Shhhhh!
    3. Finish off with three cheers for the library!
    4. Finally borrow lots of books – lets empty those shelves. You’re allowed up to 15 out on your library card, so bring a big bag!

    Check out our blog and follow all the action on Twitter (@lwfabf, #shh4sheflib)

  5. Why not Ian and everyone else turn up and ivite the press, cancelled or not.
    But don’t expect miracles. This lot don’t know the meaning of embarassment.

  6. Unbelievable! Since when have publicly elected councils in the United Kingdom taken it upon themselves to suppress the possible, peaceful expression of points of view they happen not to like?

    Is this democracy? What were they expecting, Molotov Cocktails?

  7. Sally Goldsmith

    Come on all you Sheffield poets – lets send our poems in support of Ian and libraries to the Council!

  8. Pingback: Ian McMillan library event cancelled | ABC Art Gallery

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