Save Our Libraries Day – A Protest Post

If I could today I would be protesting, as in the UK people all over the place are protesting to save thier libraries. As it is, and because most of my posts are done way in advance in case I go off for another doctors/hospital visit or anything else, I don’t know quite where I will be and so can’t quite plan it. So I thought I would join in even if its in just a small way by writing a protest post. If I can get to a library I will make sure I go and protest, or take lots of books out in person and of course report back to you all if I do. But for now this is the best effort I can make…

Now of course the protests nothing on the scale of what is going on in Eqypt at the moment (where Granny Savidge Reads was – she has been safely evacuated thanks to the French Government, ours aren’t doing much it seems) but up and down the country people are trying to make it clear to our rather useless (and I can say that as I certainly didn’t vote for them) government that people need libraries, and we do they are such important places.

I will admit myself that it wasn’t until last year that I really began to appreciate just how important a resource the library was. I was in a fortunate position of having a good income, lots of great charity shops round me and of course proof copies coming through the door at Savidge Reads HQ. So when I decided to implement a self imposed book buying ban for a year I thought I would be laughing. I honestly wouldn’t have survived it so easily if it hadn’t been for my library. How would I have gotten my book group choices, or books that I had seen reviewed wonderfully and wanted to rush out and get straight away?

You could now be sat thinking ’whats he blathering on about he chose to be on a book buying ban but he could have bought books if he wanted’ and true I could but I wanted to test myself and part of that is because I remember the days when I couldn’t simply ask for a book that I wanted and take myself/be taken to a book shop to get it and then libraries were very important.

My mother had me when she was sixteen and took me with her to university in Newcastle some yeas later. Being a student, though we didn’t really want for things, we didn’t have heaps of money in fact Novel Insights can remember us having water on Frosties, but this isn’t a sob story honest. One of the best days out for me as a child would be going to the library, an endless supply of free books and books on tape, what more could a child want?

Even when Mum was working and we were living in the more affluent county of Wiltshire it was still instilled in me that at least one Saturday a month we would be heading for the library and I would be able to go book crazy. I used to look forward to that day on the calendar weeks ahead. the school library was also a haven for me, though more often than not when it rained and until I could go ‘to town’ on lunch breaks when I reached upper school.

I admit myself and the library parted ways for a few years but then so did me and books, but last year really brought it home how much I had missed and really loved the library. Hence why as soon as I moved up north I joined the library on my first day. Of course today isn’t about my love of libraries and how much I use them, I have only written that so you can see where I am coming from.

It was a delight when a couple of weeks ago I took my youngest cousins on a day trip to the library (get them book addicted young) and they were in heaven. They simply didn’t know which book to read next (and they certainly didn’t want to leave – but that’s another story) and watching that enthusiasm shows how vital it is we have libraries for future generations. Not every child, or indeed adult, can afford new books but I do think every one has a right to be able to read and to read well be it fiction, young adult, picture books, you name it. It’s an incredibly important resource and one we shouldn’t be without.

So what can we all really do today? Well if you have a library near you that’s doing something (and you can see a link here) then head to it, if not get to your local and simply max your loans out. In fact regardless of where in the world you are, don’t just think this is something only for people in the UK, these cuts are global, take as many books as you can. I already have, but that’s no surprise. You could also do your own post on how much you love your library, or leave you favourite library memories here. Let’s all get behind our libraries and not just today but every day!

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Save Our Libraries Day – A Protest Post

  1. I’m totally behind this campaign. I think that it’s vital that libraries to stay open. Not only are libraries places where you can borrow books, it’s a place for communities to come together, to share ideas.

    Now I unfortunately don’t have access to a library, (i’m still waiting for the new one nearby to be finished, after over a year of it being built), but I have fond memories of the atmosphere of our local library in the UK. Also I have discovered some wonderful books there. If the government deny community of these resources, I think that it would be a terrible thing.

  2. A very wonderful and heartfelt post, Simon. Like you, some of my favorite childhood memories involve being taken to libraries (and bookstores) by my parents when I was a child. And although I eventually became quite the book buying addict, I’m finally trying to scale back on my purchases this year to use my nearest (academic) library more. Good libraries often have so many more choices than you’ll ever see in a good bookstore. Anyway, thanks for a nice post and hope you’re feeling better soon!

  3. I’ve been wittering on about libraries ever since I started to put my grubby paws on other people’s nice clean literary weblogs. I stopped buying books a couple of years ago and started borrowing them for two reasons. The first, selfish one, relates to lack of space here at Dark Puss Towers, the second and more honorable one is exactly as you articulate, I want to keep libraries open for OTHER people. About 13 years ago I (and many hundreds of like minded folk) helped to preserve our local branch library. In about 10 minutes I’m off to try help it once again.

    Wish me luck!

  4. Brilliant post Simon. I don’t borrow many books from my library (which is being halved in size and as it’s Leicester plans to lose a good chunk of english language fiction to make room for more foreign language books – basically representative of the city’s population so fair enough, but it offers a lot of other services I’d be lost without. Cutting library services is a terrible, terrible, consequence of the economic situation.

  5. Yesterday evening a guest* on PM radio 4 had me shouting at the radio in fury! He opined that Libraries had had their day..that only the ‘middle classes used them anyway (I imagine he thinks the rich can buy books and poor people are too thick to read) and everything is on line nowadays..so who even needs books! Argggggh!

    * sadly, I can’t remember his name, so I don’t know if he was a politician

  6. There are a good few books that I plan to take out from the library, but I never even dreamed there might be a short time limit on it. As a new student I’m rather worried about where I and millions of others are expected to find research material for assignments in future, as I study by correspondence.

    This is a great post, Simon. Sad to hear about how your Granny left Egypt, but somehow not surprised.

  7. This is well said. Closing down libraries is just scandalous, and the idea that armies of volunteers are going to keep them running and provide all of the services is just ludicrous.

  8. Applause! I used to feel guilty for making the librarians do so much work for me putting things on hold and checking them out. In the past year, I’ve come to realize that my extensive library habits actually help libraries stay open and librarians have jobs. I’m very sorry to hear that the UK is feeling the pressure on libraries as much as the US is.

  9. Thank you all for your comments, I hope that you went out and emptied your local library as much as you could?

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