This week, I had the absolute pleasure of spending some time at the Wellington Library , near Telford in Shropshire.
The event was a readers and writers day held in conjunction with the Romantic Novelists Association conference.
There was storytelling for kids and discussion about books and writing. Thanks to the library staff and all the people who came and made it such a wonderful day.
The dictionary defines a library thusly – A building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for use or borrowing by the public or the members of an institution.
That’s true – but this misses the point. Libraries have HEART. Libraries are places where people gather to read – or to find books they will reader later at home.
Different libraries each have their own feel. A small town library brimming over with kids’ books and fiction is a very different place to a University library, stocked with volumes of science and deep thought.
Both are wonderful in their own right because they are opening up new worlds and new ideas to people, some of who might otherwise be denied.
There are about 4,000 public libraries in the UK – and according to The Reading Agency – there are more than 288,000,000 visits to those libraries each year. 288 MILLION.
Yet the government is cutting finding and closing libraries.
Now – each time I go to a library, I usually leave with four or five books. Lets err on the side of caution and say each of those 288 million visits results in the borrowing of 2-3 books. In a year that’s … (gets out phone and looks for calculator app) … that’s between 576 and 864 million book borrowings. Wow…
Do we really want to lose that much joy and learning and discovery and pleasure and inspiration and….
So – everyone – get out there and visit your library. Talk to the librarians – they are wonderfully helpful and knowledgeable souls. Discover a new book or a new author or a new hobby.. a new passion.
And most of all, love and support your libraries, because if we don’t, one day we might look around and wonder where they have gone.