This evening I attended a consultation on the proposed closure of Chinnor Library. A consultation. It is very important that that particular word be noted for this evening it was less consultation and more ‘this is what we are going to do and you can put forward a group to take-over – oh, but it will cost you’!
Rather than cut every library’s budget, within the county, by a fixed percentage, they are proposing on cutting out, completely, 20 rural libraries. The library I went to fight for this evening services about 8 villages directly and 20 indirectly, 2 primary schools, several pre-schools and is the only complete community service the village has to offer.
I was extremely proud of my children who went with me. They, of their own accord, and without any prompting (okay, I helped my son with the phrase ‘social services’) made several very good, valid, incisive points. My children. Children of the community who value the service. What sort of message does the proposed library closure send out to the younger generation – books are dead, long live the internet!
But a library is about so much more than books. It is a place for storytime; lectures and talks; community activities; computer access for people who cannot afford computer/internet/printer; audio books (so many wonderful applications for these); dvds; quiet work areas; discussion groups and reading/book clubs; meetings (such as the local historical society); displays of local events and actions; papers and magazines…I could go on. Not least is the access to those wonderful, knowledgeable librarians.
The last time I read a statistic on literacy it said that over 60% of young offenders have a reading age of less than nine. OK, I appreciate that a lot of these children didn’t grow up in homes with books, but with library closure and the restriction to school budgets, they will be growing up in a community that doesn’t have books. Low reading ages lead to low self-esteem leads to aggression. This is just one impact. The overall knock-on cost will be terrible. A blind saving now in closing this valuable service will cost them more in the long-run.
Please support your local libraries.
I write. I am a writer, an author, a creator of stories. I really get a kick out people accessing my material especially if it is through the free portals of a library. Instil a love of reading and you will create an individual who not only reads but is also more confident, smart and better able to handle the vagaries of life.
Everything starts with reading.