Tuesday, 12 March 2013

I am about to turn militant .. again!

Do you have a mental list of favourite smells and feels... I do.   When I win the lottery I will have fresh sheets every day and should I take an afternoon nap, then the staff will iron them before I step inside that evening...I might have won money but I am still eco-friendly.  But there is another smell and feel which outstrips this... it's a new book.

Just close your eyes, feel the weight of the book in your hands, hear the crack of the spine and then the smell of the fresh unsullied pages.  Yet even better than this appeal to your senses is the dance that the printed letters will lead your imagination through.
So can you guess what is exercising my rant zone... my local council are threatening to close some of our local libraries.  You might remember how I told you all a couple of years ago about my love of libraries, how I have never lived more than 10 mins away from one.

Libraries are so important, they are the door in the back of the wardrobe that gave me access to my own personal Narnia... through books, I have travelled the world, I know the Venetian canals like the back of my hand through the Donna Leon and the investigations of Commisario Brunetti, I learnt my way through American Law courtesy of Harper Lee and John Grisham, never said I was discerning, did I?  I am an expert on romance, thanks to Katie Fforde and Jojo Moyes... and RF Delderfield, Mazo de la Roche and Tolstoy.

The library was and is, alongside Radio 4, my university... it has taught me and made me what I am.  Our librarians no longer check in our books, but ask them a question from internet access to who else writes like Roddy Doyle and they are there in an instant, stretching your imagination.  Who else would listen to small children bursting to impart what had happened to Angelina Ballerina, or why dinosaurs had died out and why Roald Dahl is really the bestest writer in the whole wide world and that they will never read anyone else.  Yet now, these experts are being de-skilled by stealth, softened up for redundancies... but we need them... we really do need them.  But this is not about us, it is about future generations, libraries are an inheritance we must pass on... if you don't believe me, read about what the library means to my little friend Camille and her mum.

Just imagine how tough it must be for the people working in the libraries, nip in, if you can and tell them that you will be supporting them, sign petitions, make a fuss, people need to know that you want to keep them.  

So if you live in Leigh-on-sea, Southend-on-sea, Westcliff-on-sea and so on, lobby your local councillors, tell your MP that this is not good enough... we need our libraries, and right now, your library needs you!  


Kate said...

Ros, I agree with you about libraries. However, with modern technology libraries are likely not being utilized like they were when we were younger. Whenever I go into our local library I'm usually the only one there except for the staff and I know lots of people who have kindles, etc. and don't use a library. It's a shame. I still like to hold a book in my hands. Good luck with being militant. ♥

Chrysalis said...

Well said, Ros x

moleymakes said...

What a shame that Southend Borough Council are shutting down libraries. Our one here is always busy.

I've always loved books. They are the perfect form of escapism. I spent many a teenage year immersed in novels.

I admit to having a Kindle. I love mine. Did you know that you can borrow e-books from Essex County Council libraries? Unfortunately, they don't do Kindle format due to DRM. They do ePub and PDF though.

I think if libraries are going to survive they need to invest in the new technologies too. But as usual, the arts are always the first to face the chop during budget cuts .

Pam in IL said...

I agree with your stand to keep our libraries. Our local libraries do a great job of hosting activities to bring in many patrons.

Heather said...

I would be crestfallen if my local library closed. Good luck! And if I have to fly over there and picket with you, let me know! (And send money :-) )

Una said...

I used to work in a library full-time until I was made redundant, so I really support this blog post. I now have a part-time library job and can see that libraries are as important and busy as ever. Councils have less money and lots of libraries, so closing some seems the obvious thing to do. But it is very short-sighted. Children can't travel long distances to the next library. No wonder they run riot or sit indoors playing computer games. People objecting to closures are starting to win small victories. Fight on, that's what I say.

Lyn said...

As a book-lover and someone who works in a public library in a deprived area, I was pleased to read this post.

Who uses our library? Children come in to do their on-line homework and enjoy books that are not provided at home. Job-seekers come in to search for jobs on the public access computers because they can't afford the internet at home. Book-lovers can read as many books as they want without having to wonder if they can really afford to. People who are on their own and a bit lonely can stay as long as they like and have a chat with staff or with other customers and often there are offers of help when a problem arises. It's not just a library, it's an essential community space.

Helen said...

I am in complete agreement, Ros. Libraries provide such a valuable resource and it would be an awful tragedy were we to lose them.
I am guiltynof not using my library as much as i should....cheap books and ereaders are my downfall. But i do still love to pop in and browse the non fiction side from time to time, when i have 5 min to do so!
But the most important role my local library has is for my children. When we have chance we all love to go to one of the activities they put on for kids, and my eldest especially lves to go and look at the books. We are lucky to live in the town with the biggest library in our area and (hopefully) it wont close. I sincerely hope not anyway!

Jo said...

Hello - new reader & fan Jo here. I discovered your blog through a google image of mini bunting - loved your tutorial on it. I'm a craft mad Learning Support Assistant from S. Wales & love books too so I'm now following your blog. I've read a few & you write so well - I'm almost too embarresed to ask you to look at my little 'bloggy' corner of the world - JustJo. Looking forward to reading more....