Sunday, 9 February 2014

It was National Library Day yesterday...

Libraries..."don't judge by class, race or religion. They service everyone in their community, no matter their circumstances. Rich or poor; no one is denied. Libraries are not simply part of our guarantee to the pursuit of happiness. They are a civil right. If we lose our libraries, we risk losing our communities, our families and ourselves." Karin Slaughter

Yesterday was National Library Day. I celebrated by finishing reading The Library Book (in which you will find the above quote). This book illustrates one of the reasons I love libraries so much: you get to read books you might never stumble upon otherwise. I didn't know of The Library Book's existence but it caught my eye in one of my local library's displays (and not just because it colour co-ordinates with my reading glasses so well).


It's not often I get to the end of a book, and feel that I could read it all over again, immediately, but I could easily have done so this time. And it's one of those books where I couldn't stop myself from reading parts out loud to whoever happened to be in the vicinity. 

We all know what a fantastic resource libraries are (and mostly for free), for individuals and society at large, and that they're not just about the books, but the twenty-three writers (including Alan Bennett, Stephen Fry,  Zadie Smith, Kate Mosse, Lionel Shriver, Caitlin Moran and Nicky Wire) who have contributed short stories, articles, polemic against current Coalition policy and reminiscences about their own experience of libraries, put this into words far better than I can. Many of them assert that they wouldn't be where they are today as writers and journalists, without a particular library and its librarians.

We're lucky in Wiltshire; any cuts in our library service have made little difference on the ground - the opening hours may have been tweaked and it's all become much too self-service for a technophobe like me - but we can't grumble. Others don't have our good fortune; my sister and nieces in Sunderland campaigned unsuccessfully against library closures last summer. I thought of them when I read Alan Bennett's argument that: "For a child a library needs to be round the corner. And if we lose local libraries it is children who suffer."

We must cherish our libraries and our librarians, not just on National Library Day, but everyday.






11 comments:

  1. It would be self-serving of me to like this post because I'm a public librarian, but it did make me happy :)

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  2. We still have most of our libraries her in Derbyshire. The mobile library is under threat now though.
    I don't like those automated thingys either. They take those knowledgeable librarians a step away.
    Must look for that book
    Gill

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    1. Reserve the book at your library! We've got to keep using them lots.

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  3. I've just applied to work at our main library which is currently being rebuilt!

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    1. Is that Exeter library? I had an interview there once - didn't get the job tho'!

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  4. Here, here, well said. Sheffield City Council is trying to close several libraries across the city and are being met with a storm of protest. Its really sad to see.
    Growing up in a small town in NZ, the library was out Friday night treat, it turned me into the very avid reader I am today. If children have libraries, the world is their oyster. :o)

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    1. I hope Sheffield libraries fare better than Sunderland's.

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  5. Leicestershire is cutting back, sadly. I too am not keen on the automated self-service 'borrow burrow' into which I have to put my books. Love the Alan Bennett Quote
    xxx

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  6. I think that book must be more of a British thing. I looked and it is not available in our county's library system. However, "Go Libraries!"

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