I just started writing this in Google Docs and then Grammarly asked if I wanted to sign up. I thought I had Grammarly everywhere but obviously not on this laptop which will be my computer home for my week in Alnwick. I wasn’t sure if I could write tonight and the lovely place I am staying in has wifi and TV issues, but thanks to DVD, a USB stick and a portable wifi hub provided by the owner I can actually write and post something, although I would have had the option of tethering to my phone.
I then started thinking about the real concept of a library and how important they are in any society, so here are my thoughts. I would love to hear yours.
Why Libraries Are A Near-Perfect Concept
I have held a library card all my life, well ever since I was old enough to hold one. I was lucky to be able to read before I started Primary School because my mum and dad taught me and turned me into a voracious reader. This is something I passed on to my daughters and was surprised at the anger it caused in some teachers, but that was wiped out by the sheer joy it caused in others.
My daughters used libraries for books and computer access, for both school projects and their own pleasure, and the fact they are free at the point of service means that everyone is able to use them while abiding by certain rules.
Libraries are probably the only place where you can go, learn and take things away (return them), without being pressured into buying things or spending any money. Yes, they are funded by taxes but they are not designed to make a profit, only to help people.
When I was unemployed I used the library to read books that I couldn’t afford to buy and to use computer systems to research things that I needed to know and to put together a CV that eventually helped me get back into work. For me, that was over twenty years ago but for a lot of people, libraries are essential refuges from the corporate world.
Right-wing governments are trying to close down free libraries because they allow people to educate themselves. Those banned books? Your local library will either have them or be able to get them for you.
If you can’t afford to buy a book you can borrow it for nothing from the library as long as you have a card, and here you can see my old battered but still functional card for Newcastle Libraries.
Libraries encourage people to do more with their lives. You will never walk into a library and think I don’t think I can afford this. The Lit and Phil is an independent library in Newcastle which has been host to many important historical events, but people are still welcome within its walls to enjoy the books and the surroundings.
Again after my last redundancy, I enjoyed spending a lot of time there just enjoying the surroundings, reading books, eating cake and drinking tea and coffee. The food and drink were not free but the atmosphere and reading were.
Libraries are places where you can explore and go on a mental adventure. I am lucky enough to have four in easy reach for me and I do visit them often.
If you don’t have a library card, get one. If you don’t use a library, find one and you will not regret taking advantage of the facilities behind the library doors.
The song I have included is Belle and Sebastian's "Wrapped Up In Books".
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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