Monday, 31 January 2011

Booky wooky goodness

There's been a lot in the news recently about closing down libraries in an attempt to save money. This really makes me sad.

My memories of childhood were of spending Saturdays with a visit to the library. It started with my school library, which happened to be close to where I had my swimming lessons. Then, when my sister and I were a little older, it moved to the one which was close to the supermarket. My parents used to drop us off at the library whilst they went and did the food shopping and wandered round the shops. It suited us all perfectly. They would get peace and quiet to run around the supermarket without two bored children hanging off the trolley, and we would get to be kids. I'd race to the kids books and quite happily spend 2 or 3 hours picking up the maximum limit of books I was allowed. Then, if I had time left over, I'd start reading another and get as far through it as I possibly could. When I got home, it would be a quick lunch and then I'd disappear off into my room for a few hours of peace and quiet so that I could just read and read and read as much as possible until my parents called me down again. I think I must have read every Judy Blume book, every Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High... I probably read all the teenage girl books in the whole place.

Even as an adult, I've been a member of various libraries when I need some new fiction. I can't imagine my life without them. There's nothing like devouring a good book. I really hope that as many as possible can remain open, and that people get behind the libraries to prove how necessary they are to the community, especially to fire up the imagination of children. The story of the community who withdrew every single book from the shelves of the local library to show how valuable it was to them warmed my heart. I just hope that the councils and the government sit up and listen.

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