Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Save Our Libraries (Please...)
I was interviewed on the radio again this morning, on BBC Hereford and Worcester, once more championing the cause of libraries, in the face of these troubled times. It's hard to know if I made any sense: live broadcasting is such an intense experience, after the event you can hardly remember what you said and it's easy to wonder if you sounded a complete idiot.
I was a bit shocked earlier this year, when speaking to friends about Sheffield's Shhhhh! campaign, that many didn't get it: they didn't really use their library, so didn't understand the importance of the fight to save them. I realised that it's easy for some of us to undervalue what libraries mean to a community - if you have money to buy your books, if your children already read, if your house has a warm, quiet place where you or your children can study, if you and your baby are already supported by a strong, family network...
Many other people think things are OK if their libraries are not actually closed, but that's less than half the story. All over the country, budgets are being slashed, projects are being axed, staffing is being cut right back. If we allow our councils to pair things down to a point where libraries can no longer do a decent job, not only do we lose that desperately important resource, but it means that they become a very easy target for closure next time round.
I hope you like these great retro posters that were designed by Phil Bradley, another loud voice for the cause. You can see his complete collection here. Print your favourite and stick it in your window!
And please, go and borrow books from your library: we need to fight for what we have, because so often we don't realise how valuable something is until after its gone.