Love our libraries

Since the current coalition government came into power, they have been preparing the country for savage cuts. I’ll happily admit that I’m no economist, but the speed and depth of the cuts is frightening.

Already they’ve climbed down on the over the selling of English woodlands due to furious public backlash.

But here’s one that we must stand up and say no to – the closure of libraries. Earlier this week, the Guardian reported on one library in east London which was saved thanks to people power.

I love reading books. I can’t afford to buy them (have you seen the price of art books?), so I borrow them from by local library. Far from being dusty, boring places, my libraries are welcoming places. My local one has been brought up-to-date with a refurbishment, and includes the latest technology where I can borrow and return books at a computer terminal. There are mum and toddler groups, the Internet, and the latest books in stock.  The librarians are not stern old witches who tell you to ‘shush’ when you breathe, but very happy to help. I can even borrow books from Bexhill and return it in Eastbourne.

The library has a special place in my heart. When I was very young, my mother and I would walk down to the library pick out my books for the week. It’s where I learnt to read, got whisked to other planets, time and even to space. I even read about talking animals! It’s where I learnt about body language, about the bus names in Brighton and my next travel destination. I’ve sat in the library doing research for school, college and university.

To deny people the pleasure of reading, to deny children from learning to read and write should not be tolerated. Closing our libraries is not an option.

So the next time you want to read a book, why not save yourself a few pennies? Go and pop down to your local library and show your support.

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8 thoughts on “Love our libraries

  1. Great post! Libraries are so important, especially for children. I’m lucky to be able to buy book if I want to, but I shouldn’t let this stop me using the libraray – as you say ‘use it or lose it’ and I definately don’t want that!

    • Thanks 🙂 I like to read a lot, so it’s very rare that I buy a new book. I was part of a book group, so would go down to my local library and pick up the book we are going to read (and several more!) Also, art books are very expensive, so I like to pick one up from time to time to help with my photography. Libraries are a great economical way to introduce children to reading (which in turn will help with their writing too). I used to love going with my mum and pick out my books for the week.

  2. One of the best things about starting my university course has been the access to uni library. It stays open until midnight! For a complete bookworm such as me, it’s pretty much heaven.

    Having said that, I do believe we are going to see more library closures in the future, sad as it is. Let’s face it, most of the younger generation do all their reading/research online these days.

    • I remember those days! I used to spend hours at my uni library researching and studying. It was one of the only places where I actually got work done. There was so many distractions at my house, and a weak will!

      Sadly, I have to agree with you with the library closures. If no one uses them, then they’re an easy target. Yes we do have the internet and now the Kindle, but there’s nothing like reading a good ol’ book. I can’t read books on my comp, I don’t get on with it and I have looked at the Kindle, but I like to see how many pages I have left, and I do like holding a physical object. I’m the same with CD’s (am I showing my age here – I’m not even 30!)

      I found this quote – Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust said: “Our research shows just how important a role libraries play in supporting literacy. In the UK today one in six people struggles to read, write and communicate, which can affect their health, confidence and employability” which I find upsetting. That fact that there are people in the UK that can’t read and write in today’s age is despicable.

      And interestingly enough, the Literacy Trust also says that out putting pen to paper seems to imprint the knowledge to the brain more effectively than typing on a computer.

  3. Libraries are more than just places to borrow books. In the absence of church halls and community centres, they are one of the few places where people can go at no cost. You cant underestimate the importance of having somewhere warm, dry and welcoming for the many elderly, unemployed, isolated or marginalised people to have access to. A local library can provide people with access to pricey newspapers and magazines, new books and internet access, local information or even just a friendly chat with the librarian. Even though I’m a dedicated “Kindler”, I feel very passionate about the value of books and education to those of us (including me) who are not rich or posh enough to afford private schooling or university. Cameron and his chums have got a big carving knife out so they can cut up the cake between themselves and leave a plate of crumbs for the rest of society. We must stand up now and stop the closure of libraries, public swimming pools and parks and all the other facilities that we pay tax for. Unless of course we get the banks to pay to keep them open. They owe us that much at least…

    • Very good point Kitz. I read a blog saying that libraries were only for the middle classes and Radio 4 listeners (one of the same?) which I disagree with. Having access to information is not just for those with money, and although computers and the Internet is very common, not everyone has them at home. Anyone who wishes to improve their knowledge should be supported, regardless of background.

      Wouldn’t it be great if the banks paid for them, but then surely that’s on the way to more privatisation public services.

  4. When I first came to England, libraries were my refuge. I caught up on my chicklit books there. I was in love with the library system here. The slogan “as long as it’s printed, we have it” was never more true. I had access to books that I’d never thought I’d ever find. I had access to information that I needed for work.

    If it was a lifeline to me, I’m sure it is as much a lifeline to the people who are more regular users than me. There has to be a way to save them!

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