Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Bye, bye, libraries

There once was a society that banned books. Not all books. Just some books. It was Germany. It was Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany did not like books. At least, Nazi Germany did not like some books. So officials piled them up and burned them. I wonder what they would have done to the internet?

Our society does not value books. It does not protect its library services. LAs, looking for ways to cut more things of value to ordinary people (besides, of course, ordinary people's jobs) are rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of getting rid of libraries. Unless, of course, those people who are the backbone of the land - the volunteers - will offer to step forward and run the libraries.

The writer, Philip Pullman, is on it here:


Did you linger in libraries when you were an emerging writer, Mr. Pullman?

I bet you did.

Were they important to you?

I bet they were.

When I was little, libraries, to me, smelt of holiness. They were a sanctuary of quiet, and an oasis of learning. They were respected. They were well-thought of. They were necessary because you just couldn't manage to buy ALL the books you might ever need.

Everyone can use libraries. Any age. Any stage. Come. Try a book. Even buy a book.

They give imagination free flight. They make you laugh. They flick the conscience. They stimulate your desire to know and grow. Books do.

So get rid of the libraries. Great plan.

A pivotal service in our country.

Shows that we are literate. That we read. That we seek knowledge. That we love knowledge. That we cherish knowledge.

And we meet other people in those places. And, if we have a home that's expensive to heat, we can sit reading in peace until closing time, and save a few pounds on the gas and electric in the flat or the house. Then there's always the social side of it. A smile from a toddler as he reaches that big fun book he's had his eye on since he first got strollered through the library door. A nod from the elderly gent combing through the newspapers. It all adds up to community.

Isn't too much to ask to spare them, is it? The staff probably get paid peanuts; our library building is old and tired, but still has life and value.

Do we value important things in this country?

No, only money. We only value money. And what value has money?

What indeed?

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