"It's a disgrace to civilisation, to a country, a nation, that once had a good library service in every county and local authority. ... It seems an act of destructive folly, almost unparalleled, to allow the library service - which was so good in my lifetime - to fall into such decay so soon, so rapidly and so carelessly as if it didn't matter. As if it was just a silly little luxury that we can do without. We can't do without it. It is absolutely, fundamentally, necessary."
Philip Pullman leaves his audience at the Hay Festival in no doubt as to his feelings about the Tories' decimation of public libraries. Needless to say, his comments are rather less contentious than those of Germaine Greer on rape, delivered earlier in the festival.