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Why We Need To Save Our Libraries

Thanks to MadNad for taking the time to sit down and write an article that puts a personal face on the proposed library closures across the UK.

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, was a girl who was severely depressed and lonely after a relationship had failed. She lived in a new town, with no friends, and was then made redundant. Her home had halved in value, yet the mortgage payments had doubled. It was a tough time for our heroine, and money was scarce, but then she stumbled into the local library.

This place was warm, and welcoming and nothing like the austere stuffy places of television land where everyone was told to shush. Through her membership, she was introduced to a free resource that proved invaluable. She borrowed books on DIY to aid her crumbling home.  There were also books that taught her shorthand, and she was taught how to write a professional CV on their sole computer. Her time was filled with strange new lands that fired her imagination when she was introduced to authors such as Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, and Raymond E. Feist.

She managed to pick up a part time bar job that was advertised on the Library notice board. Through this job she made friends, and gained a social life. Money was still tight but thanks to the Library’s cheap rental of videos and CDs she was able to keep up with the trends in film and music. Eventually, her confidence grown, she got a job, and her life moved on.

20 years later, she is married to a guy who, amongst other things, runs a book review site. She has a good job, a house, car… all the things she thought she would never have. Her survival through one of the darkest times in her life was largely due to her free access to a wealth of literature and other resources, that someone on the dole would not have been able to buy. Without the Library, there would have been no bar job, no friends, no social life, no music, no films, and no CV. Although she does not use her library much these days, it is difficult to imagine where that person would be today without the life line that was her local library.

Okay, so this may all seem a little dramatic, but I wanted to illustrate to you, the reader of this blog, how important a library can be to some people, and why it is important to keep them open for people like our heroine.   I imagine most readers of this blog have not, myself included, stepped inside a library for many years, but that does not mean I want to see them disappear. Libraries should be available for people from all walks of life, though as a free resource, it is used mostly by those on lower incomes. Ironically, it is libraries in some of the most deprived parts of the country that are facing closure.

It is our government’s plan to drastically reduce funding to libraries, forcing them to reduce their opening hours, and even putting many of them at risk of closure. Their argument is that people just don’t use them.  Let us change that.  This Saturday, 5th February, is Save Our Libraries day and libraries around the country will be playing host to read-ins, author appearances and story-telling events to protest at the threatened closure of 400 branches. To find your nearest participating library click HERE.  Even if your local library is not having an event, please go down there, create a membership, and withdraw the maximum number of items you can.  All you need to take with you is 1 or 2 forms of ID that includes your address, such as a bank statement, utility bill or driving license.

If you are on Twitter, make sure you share this post, and include the hashtag #saveourlibraries

A local blogger here in Nottinghamshire said :

Once a library is gone, its gone. The Conservatives do not like you, do not want you to have this resource. It doesn’t generate money, it empowers the powerless, and they want it gone. Do not let them. Off your arse, and join up, register your support.

Eloquently said.

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