Why we need our Libraries

Wisdom in old shelves and books.
Wisdom in old shelves and books.

Our public libraries are in danger. Many of them have already been shut by local councils, or are limping on run by volunteers. Nothing wrong with volunteers but they don’t have the expertise of trained librarians. Not that there are many of those around these days in the cash strapped UK.

Why does this matter?

Well, libraries are much more than places where people borrow books. At the library people who don’t have, or can’t afford a laptop or smart phone can access the internet and they can get help with IT if they need it. There is information on what is going on locally. And there are groups to join, Knit and Natter, Story Time for toddlers, holiday activities for older kids among many others.

Our local library was where our creative writing group used to meet on a Saturday afternoon and where we hosted our fringe event to coincide with the first Literary Festival in a Factory which was held in the Emma Bridgewater Factory in Stoke-on-Trent. We did workshops and readings and our guest speaker was the actor and playwright Debbie McAndrew.

None of this could have happened without the support of Farida Mohammed the librarian and it would have been great to do it as an annual event, but those days are long gone. The building we used, with its huge basement space, has been demolished and the new library doesn’t even have individual rooms we can use for a writing group. We did try meeting in among the books and it didn’t work as members were inhibited by having to read their work in progress where anyone could wander past.

Our library may be smaller than it was. There are probably fewer books but it is still a place to be cherished.

It’s great to be able to borrow books for free, but libraries are also important for writers. Join the Public Lending Right Scheme and every book of yours that is borrowed earns money for its author. It’s not very much but added up it can make a difference.

Not every writer knows this, nor does the general public. So if readers of my blog would like to help writers they know please join your library, then borrow their books−even if you already own or have read them. Because “Every Little Helps.”

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