HORRIBLE histories author Terry Deary has defended himself after coming under attack for calling libraries “a Victorian idea.”
Deary told the Echo this week libraries “have had their day” and needed “to change and adapt or they go” in response to Sunderland City Council plans which could see some close.
His comments have since been picked up by national newspapers and provoked a storm from across the country.
Mr Deary today defended himself, saying many of those questioning him were employing “playground insults” and were not properly considering his arguments.
He told the Echo: “You wouldn’t believe the abuse I’m getting. Personal, vindictive and spiteful abuse from authors who are decending to playground insults.
“No-one is even reading what I’m saying. I never attacked libraries, I said we need to think about people’s access to literature. I don’t see poor people in libraries, I see middle class people with their arms stuffed like looters.
“People are entitled to their views but I wish they would just discuss them with me rather than try to poison me with spiteful remarks.
“But one letter I recieved said ‘I just read what you said about libraries. Well done, it’s about time a proper debate took place’.”
There was no such praise from the Belgate Trilogy author Denise Robertson, who was appalled by Mr Deary’s views.
The East Boldon agony aunt said: “I’m not surprised. I know him and used to like him but he’s lost sight of himself.
“His belief seems to be libraries have cheated authors out of profits. I suppose that’s true but what kind of person, who has done so well out of books, wants to bar people from reading?
“It’s all very well saying people should read e-books but how much does a Kindle or something like that cost?
“I suggest Mr Deary sticks with his millionaire friends.
“God help us if we lose our libraries and I speak as someone like him, who is losing money from libraries but I remember when I used to rely on them for books.
“He’s not on his uppers and if he is, he can come round here and I’ll give him a cup of tea.”
Bryan Talbot, author of Alice In Sunderland, agreed libraries have to reform but said of Mr Deary: “That’s a rich person speaking. I think an educated population is better than and ignorant one.
“You write books so people will read them and libraries mean people are reading them. They might then buy other copies of your books.
“A lot of people came to my books for the first time because of libraries.”
In an online poll, 81 per cent of Echo readers said we still needed libraries.