Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Why Libraries?

Cilip (the professional body of libraries) have launched a petition to get the government to look at their lawful obligations regarding library provision.

Why protest library closures?

Well they provide a social and educational community hub, with:
a wide range of non-fiction and fiction
internet access
not-for-profit room hire
courses in IT, research and available resources
help and resources for those seeking work online
research support from information professionals
promotion and opportunity for local businesses
affordable access to entertainment, whether through events or new films on DVD
hot drinks, warmth and welcoming atmosphere
social groups such as book clubs, craft clubs, and so much more
children's and older person's groups
school holiday entertainment and free activities, and competitions

It is very possible I have missed something.

But who uses libraries anymore?

I hear and read comments such as this occasionally.  Well, just because one person has internet access, money for cheap second hand books and access to those shops within walking distance or over the internet, or has a car to get to the nearest city library, or doesn't have an interest in mixing with or meeting others with shared interests, or has a job, or is able to use their own internet connection and has the confidence and ability to search for a new job... doesn't mean that everyone has those luxuries.

Libraries right now are full of people who are meeting new parents as their children enjoy a free or low-cost yet quality playgroup; and with unemployed people struggling to get to grips with internet job searching who have been passed along to the library by the too-busy jobcentres; and the people whose printers just failed and they need their cinema/travel tickets right now; and families looking for entertainment on film night but cannot afford the new movie and refuse to download it illegally; and the students looking for a quiet place in which they can focus on their learning with all the resources they need (internet, computers, coffee that doesn't cost as much as an internet cafe); and the young people who share a room looking for a quiet place; and the older people who can't afford the heating and so head across the street for a hot drink, a read of the paper and warmth; and the recently retired who are looking to meet new people with shared interests at hobby clubs; and the kids who are finished school but no one is home so are doing homework research on the PCs or, more likely, playing online games; and the kids whose parents can't afford profit-making extra-curricular groups so attend the book groups, gaming groups, writing groups...

I know I have missed something this time.

 Without libraries, all of this is gone. People become more isolated with less access to resources and therefore to socialisation, education or work.

What sort of society resents or would prevent these people having such access?

"I'm alright, Jack" springs to mind when people question the point of libraries.

I would love it if you could join me in signing Cilip's petition.   

We use our local libraries (our branch and main) for reading books, information books, the Internet in a dedicated study setting, fun kids' activities, themed events and performances, and children's groups such as Rhymetimes, Storytime and Chatterbooks.  There is always children's colouring and drawing apparatus out at our local libraries and galleries so no matter when we find ourselves with an hour to fill, we have somewhere to go for free.

How do you use your library?

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