Monday, 24 September 2012

Thing 16: Booky wooks

I have been a library user since birth. I used to go to story sessions when I was very little, we even have some signed Pugwash books after the author did a reading there. The big Silvercross vintage pram I used to be pushed around in broke after my mother loaded it up with library books and a sack of potatoes. When we moved south, one of the first things we did was join the library in Cambridge. My parents had control of our library cards, so they could borrow the maximum number on behalf of all of us, and we had a dedicated shelf just for library books at home. Again, I remember of attending story sessions and just browsing the shelves, and how grown-up I felt when I finally started using the card for my own personal selection.

There is a point to this waffle. These are my special recollections, and similar are shared by family and friends. These are going to be lost if the public library system is dismantled, privatised, under-funded or generally mucked-about-with, and future generations won't even have the chance to create their own memories. I've been out and protested against the cuts. I encourage everyone to use the service, to prove it is a necessity for a civilised society, and that each person in the UK should have access to a well-stocked and relevant library. For free.

Yes, the internet is a wonderful thing. And books, e-books and newspapers can be picked up for pennies there. But if I bought every book I wanted to read, I'd be skint and need a mansion to store them all. And I am not alone.

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