What do libraries mean to you?
One of my earliest memories is of being taken to the local library. It was such a treat to be able to sit and browse the books, finally deciding on the favourites for that week. If I close my eyes, the scent of polish on the wooden floor takes me back. I am sitting in a pool of books, my siblings milling around, gently increasing the piles to precarious heights. Those were the days of searching for books via index cards and when library cards really were made of card and really did get stamped.
Now I’m not a person who particularly yearns for those nostalgic days, but I do believe in giving everyone the opportunity to explore information, whether in print or digital format. I was fortunate to grow up in a household where every room had a bookshelf filled to bursting point. Not every child has access to books, computers or even an e-reader. Libraries today are a hub of interactive and community information, from novels to newspapers, music to meetings. Libraries today run events, clubs, classes, allow free internet access and self-service facilities. It most certainly is about equality of opportunity; a fundamentally human quality that is seemly being eroded by government cuts. Is it any wonder that authors like Zadie Smith continue to speak up in favour of our public libraries?
According to Public Libraries News, 253 libraries are currently under threat or have been closed/left council control since 01.04.12, out of circa 4612 in the UK.
More opinion from Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson, who argues that closing down libraries is a “false economy”. I couldn’t agree more. http://www.thebookseller.com/news/donaldson-library-cuts-false-economy.html