Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Why libraries are important to society

The campaign is on to save hundreds of the UK's libraries from closing, resulting in colossal job cuts and the devastating loss of vital cultural assets. Libraries serve communities in innumerable ways. They are places of education, entertainment and so much more; areas where:
  • Children have their earliest experiences of books, reading, being read to
  • Teenagers can develop their sense of self and how they relate to the wider world
  • The elderly can engage with staff and not feel so alone in an increasingly alienating and daunting world when they might not otherwise feel valued or part of their local community
  • Adults can take up computer courses, become computer literate and get online with confidence
  • Adults whose first language is not English can take up courses to improve their skills
  • The unemployed can use free PC terminals to search and apply for jobs
  • Children can encounter people of their own age and become more sociable with reading and singing sessions
  • People can access local information
  • Tourists and those who are new to an area can feel welcomed and can seek local information on a variety of topics
  • People can research local history and archives
  • People can get access to books, CDs, DVDs, language courses, spoken word audio, magazines, newspapers, council information all under one roof and all for free or at an affordable cost
  • People can attend events such as book readings, book clubs, live music concerts, sports, creative activities and so on
  • Anyone can use the free space on offer for quiet study, or even contemplation and haven from the increasingly noisy, aggressive world
Libraries are also often architecturally outstanding and historical buildings and must be preserved at all costs for future generations. Do you really want to see libraries being turned into luxury flats or chain stores?

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