One of the most encouraging scenes for booklovers, I would imagine, is to see a circle of children sitting around someone reading them a story. It’s great to watch them listening intently as the storyteller takes them into a world of wonder, new adventures and exciting characters.
It’s a scene I see frequently in my local library, and it takes me back to my own childhood to a time when people knew nothing of television, computers, iPhones and iPads. In our quest for entertainment and knowledge, radio and the cinema gave some satisfaction, but it was the library that supplied what we truly wanted by providing us with the wonderful world of books, along with newspapers, magazines and comics.
So it concerns me when I hear about cutbacks to our library services which are essential to all of us, regardless of age, gender, background or culture. The Internet is important but it cannot, and should not, replace the human connection. I have used library services in various parts of the world, and the satisfaction that one gains from a helpful librarian, who goes to great lengths to secure a book or an item of information, is immeasurable.
In the past few years, hundreds of libraries have closed but according to a recent article in The Times, they are making a comeback, in spite of the growth in demand for eBooks. In fact, it has also been reported that an interesting trend in book sharing is growing, whereby readers are leaving books for others to enjoy – through venues such as railway stations, hotels, holiday resorts and private members’ clubs, to mention just a few.
Such news is encouraging, but let us remember our local libraries and the people who run them on our behalf. They are a priceless resource that all of us can use.
The old article reproduced below is one I wrote a couple of years ago. But I feel it is worth repeating simply...