What a brilliant concept. Almost as brilliant as the idea of free health care for all. Aren't we lucky?
I've been intending to write a blog about libraries since I started this a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it was because there may not be that many things that I can think of putting up that may be of interest to anyone out there.
I came across a piece on a blog today (Do You Write Under Your Own Name?) that stated a case for libraries in light of the forthcoming General Election. It says it better than I can, so I reckon you should just pop over there now and save yourself a few minutes:
I mentioned in my opinion of 'The Devil's Staircase' that I'd enjoyed my experience at the 'Crime In The City' series run by the Edinburgh libraries.
Why is such a set of events important? It allows us mere mortals to see and meet writers, brings groups of the like-minded together and gives a local community something to get out of their houses for. It's also important because at such events the writers actually get paid, therefore sustaining the people at the centre of the publishing process. I believe that at launch events writers are expected to turn up and do it for the glory only and the benefits it might have on book sales.
My kids go to the library often. They love books, though without libraries, we just wouldn't be able to feed their interest for new material. Picture books, after all, aren't cheap.
Izz, partner in crime, gets nearly all her books there. It amounts to several per week. She gets a great range. Those titles that they don't have are ordered for a minimal charge. It's amazing.
She's undoubtedly saved a tree or two in her time by now, and she's read more than me by a factor of which I'm not even going to guess at.
And the writers? Again they benefit. They may only get a very small (pennies) fee for each withdrawal. 'Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves' could read 'Look after the libraries..."
As if that wasn't enough, you can get free Internet access, reading groups, writing groups, art displays, literacy and numeracy support, schools' events, father/mother and toddler events (Bounce and Tickle for us), maps, advice, community events displays, help, company, warmth, tea and coffee...whoever came up with the idea, I'd like to shake their hand (post it up, if you know; save me a Google).
Our librarians even let my children use the staff toilet - needs must.
It is to my shame, then, that I'm not even a member of the library here. I've lived in the town for 6 years and have used my family's tickets whenever I've needed something. It's about time I got off my arse. Added my weight to the figures to make sure that the council understands the importance of the local library as a resource.
If I haven't done it by the end of next week, think assassination.
If you haven't, then that's what I'll be thinking of taking up.
And if you live outside of the UK (those who've come from Canada, Poland, the States, China, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, France, Cyprus, Italy, Argentina and more - I can't believe you made it, and I'd like to say thanks for coming) maybe you could let me know what the set up is for you.
Final point. I'm no expert and I haven't heard a word on the subject from politicians, but for my penny's worth I can't see the Tories maintaining any public services. You just know it. For goodness sake, vote for someone else.