Libraries Transform - We Need Them by Wendy H. Jones
|SoAiS Committee Members|
I am on the committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland, and some of us are in the picture above. SoAiS are supporting CILIPS, Libraries Matter Campaign because we all believe that libraries truly do matter. We are having our meeting in the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.
Scotland has always been a proud supporter of education and reading. Scottish philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie believed in them so much he built and supported a total of 2,509 libraries worldwide, starting in 1883. In Scotland, 56 local authorities were given money to build libraries. Several of these built more than one, including Dundee, where I grew up. My local library was one of these. However, Dundee has an even older library. Lochee library and baths, which was built in 1895. Scotland has always believed in the value of reading and the way in which it can transform lives.
|Coldside Library, Dundee|
These libraries ensured that everyone had access to books for both pleasure and learning. Regardless of your status in life you could borrow books free. When I first started it was 1 book at a time. Now you can borrow 10 books at a time. A treasure trove of excitement awaits inside the door of every library.
Those figures are staggering but true. However, libraries are now closing at an unprecedented rate, as Government support is withdrawn. This means that many of Scotland's readers will have their main source of reading removed. In a time when many families struggle to pay bills, books will not be the main priority. This does not just apply to Scotland, but to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has been proven, over and over, that reading can help improve intelligence. Reading books with children helps develop their language skills. It also helps them to learn what words mean.
In this pile of books from the library there are cookbooks, audio books, travel books, romance and crime. You can get all these, and so much more in a library, and all free. No matter what you want to research, ready or study, your library, and the librarians, will come up trumps. Libraries are about so much more than reading. They run a number of other activities such as
- Writing groups
- Sing and Rhyme
- Talks on many diverse subjects
- Host authors
- Computer lessons
- Lego clubs
- Rent meeting rooms
- Run book groups
This is just a small selection of the top of my head. I am sure you can add many more. But all of these are why libraries matter and libraries transform.
If you would like to know more about the campaign visit CILIPS
Add your voice and fight tooth and nail to save our libraries. They are a part of our heritage and deserve to be a part of our future.