At Nosy Crow, we believe that libraries offer essential access to knowledge and reading for pleasure in printed and digital forms together with expert guidance and encouragement. For over two thousand years, collections of the written word have been beacons of civilisation. And they are safe, warm places where children and families can explore books and reading.
Up to 800 libraries, a fifth of the total number in England, face the possibility of closure as councils prioritise other services in the face of government cuts.
Tomorrow, 5 February, is Save Our Libraries day.
You can read Philip Pullman’s speech against Oxfordshire libary closures.
You can find out more about it from CILIP’s website.
You can join The Bookseller’s Facebook campaign
You can plot your protest on a map via Twitter
Last week, I asked followers on twitter if they thought libraries were important to children and families, and, if so, why. Here are some of the scores of answers I got, some of them personal; some focussing on libraries as a resource, particularly for poorer children; some focussing on libraries as spaces:
“Libraries provide a ‘safe space’ for abused/underprivileged/neglected kids who have nowhere else to go.”
“Kids can draw from a wealth of books and libraries have group reading and activities that really get them exciting about stories.”
“Libraries matter hugely to kids. Sat morning browsing & selecting ‘anything’ you fancy is priceless for broadening literary horizons. Witnessing other kids & adults enjoying reading. Where else would they get to experience that and understand its importance?”
“Working in schools, it is shocking to find out how many kids have NO books at home. That’s NONE! These kids need libraries.”
“Without libraries, I wouldn’t be working in publishing. Fact.”
“Libraries are important because you shouldn’t ration the food a growing brain needs.”
“ money is a big but as well as that in the last 9 years my kids have benefited in lots of ways from our local library: 1) getting their card (kids love that) 2) meeting local authors 3) pyjama parties/storytelling 4) craft sessions 5) songtime 6) reading quest each summer 7) school trips (some of their classmates 1st visit) 8) themed parties (dragons/pirates/dinos)”
“Libraries gave me access to books which fueled my imagination & a safe place to study. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
“Libraries are important to children because for many it’s their only access to books.
“ a location at which imaginative experiences can be shared – vital for future scientists/arts people.”
“Libraries allow people to try new authors ”
“Quiet is so hard to come by.”
“Libraries offer a wider choice than bookshops. And a quiet, warm space.”
“All kids need books but, for disadvantaged children, libraries can provide a safe escape.”
“Libraries can also be a safe space for abused and deprived children/teens who have nowhere else.”
“I have very strong memories of the thrill of selecting my own books from the library; was v proud of membership card with my signature aged 6.”
“Libraries allow people to try new authors risk free – if they buy more likely to go for safe option.”
“I grew up in middle class home with no books, library was my world, and, especially during my parents’ divorce, my friend.”
“Libraries open up new worlds and show kids what’s possible. Books transport and teach and should be accessible to everyone.”
“Libraries are vital for home educating kids, too – for access to learning materials aside from leisure reading.”
“Libraries simply fundamental to civilisation. Ask the ancient Mayans and Alexandrians!”
“If I had not had that wealth of books from library as child would not be writer today. Access 2 books 4 all kids = basic right.”
“Children = future. Not all can afford 2 buy own books. Libraries = education & escape. No libraries = loss of future potential.
“Libraries need to transform in digital age so they’re more visual, creative, social, cultural, playful, communal, green…”
“Libraries encourage open, enquiry-based learning through physical/visual serendipitous browsing.”
“Libraries open up culture in ways that show kids you don’t need to own things. Sharing is more sustainable.”
“ Libraries are place where kids learn that a rectangular piece of dead tree = door to a million magical worlds.”
“Libraries are a space teenagers can go to be free, free to read, free to think, free to discover and free to use.”
“Schools develop literacy but not always a love of reading if concentrate too much on the mechanics. Librarians can advise.”
“Libraries are important to children because they get free access to so many “real books” to develop their love of reading.”
I’m grateful to everyone who responded.
Support your library on Save Our Libraries Day.