Absolutely terrible that the public library as an institution is so threatened by the uk Goverment’s spending cuts. I really remember the moment when I could go from being limited to kid’s allocation four books to being allowed adult allocation of six books. I don’t know what age that happened at, I’ve no memory of that but the actual moment in the library as the librarian wrote out the two extra tickets is so strong. It meant two more books, not having to wrestle so much about which four to take. In reality like a football manager who is always after the extra three players to complete the team or indeed the Writer who is only two more drafts away from the perfect script, I always seemed to find I needed to take out two more books than my allocation. Reading has always been a major activity in my life, at aged 9 I had read most of the books in my school library and had to resort to reading GIRL’S book, eurghh!! I still want to complete the pirate book series I never managed to finish due to the school not having all the books in the series.
The Book is an absolute key cultural object. The free public libary is a way of getting that object into everybody’s hands, irrespective of class or wealth. I am a Writer because I am a Reader. Absolutely no doubt about that. I spent (and still spend) a lot of time at the library and would finish books and be keen to go back the next week to get more.
The fear is that once a public service closes then it won’t re-open. Just received a questionnaire from my local library (15 minutes walk away) talking about reduced services. Surely this is an alternative rather than shutting them down? The idea of working class kids like I once was having to pay to travel to the library or be faced with long, long walks to get to the ones that have managed to escape the cuts is horrifyingly depressing. Local councils have to be pressured to not close libraries and to seek to be more visionary about how they operate.
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