My local library is an essential part of the way I raise my children and spend my time. I’m in my local library at least once a week, usually twice. They have a children’s Rhymetime on Friday mornings, at which Riley and I are regular attendees (it’s free – how many other children’s indoor social activities nowsdays are actually free?). It’s a great place to go when it rains, where I can sit and read to my son, books that he doesn’t have at home. I can get out enough books to keep me reading (which otherwise would be beyond our financial means) and not just old books either – I can order in new books at the cost of just £1. And because it’s free I read things I otherwise wouldn’t. The librarians are lovely and know my children by name, which encourages them to go in. My five year old daughter has her own library card and gets her own books out. This summer she took part in the Children’s Bookcrawl to win a certificate for reading six books and she learned to read using the Oxford Reading Tree books that are kept in the library.
I can meet friends there and I see many old age pensioners (with no computer of their own at home) using the facility for free. My uncle (who is in his seventies) has just been told that if he wants to collect his company pension he has to have an email address. He has no computer and no email address. When he called to complain, the young, offensively clueless woman
on the other end of the phone could not believe that he had no computer and no email and seemed to believe that he was the only person in the country without that facility. So now he has to get an email address. Without a local library, how is he to get one?
The children see the library as a magical place and they love to browse the books. They can get out a DVD, or a game for our wii without it costing all their pocket money. They are learning to love books and to have books accessible.
A library is not an obsolete dinosaur, it is not a pointless financial drain on the Government, it is a resource that allows people to learn, to grow, to visit books and each other in a safe, clean environment. If you take away the ability of families to read books for free, many families simply won’t be able to read – not everyone can afford even ‘three for two’ in Waterstones.