Thursday 5 June 2014

Thursday Thoughts (4) - Libraries - Why they still matter


Welcome to my new Weekly post - Thursday Thoughts.

This is going to be a weekly discussion post that I hope will get all my blog readers commenting and giving their opinion. I will pick a topic and write how my thoughts and feelings about it and then hopefully all you lovely readers will leave a comment below with your own opinions.

The only rule I have is that everyone is respectful of each other's opinions, there is no real right or wrong here, this is a chance to experience a topic from someone else's perspective. Please listen to each other and be nice.

If you wish to take a more active part in this discussion and make your own blog post about the topic, I will create a Linky list below that you can link your post to. If more and more people take part - the bigger and better it will become.

Some discussions will be light and silly, others will be more serious but they will all be about books and book related things.

So come on everyone, pull up a chair and lets hear your voice.

This weeks topic is:

Libraries - Why they still matter

If you have followed my blog for a while you will know that I work in a public library. If you didn't know - well you do now! 
I have worked there for 7 and a half years and lots of things have changed over that time, but the one thing that has remained the same is the need for borrowers to come through the door and our love for the books.
All across the borough, the council have been making budget cuts and libraries always come under attack. Many argue that we are now obsolete, no longer needed. But I am pleased to say that there are always arguments in our favour. 
A couple of years ago our team of staff were cut practically in half, we had 'self-service' introduced to our library. Where I am, we have 5 libraries under one organisation, out of those 3 of them have been changed to self service and the other 2 are only open reduced hours so haven't been updated. 
But we are always still on hand to help anyone that comes through the door, we still have to shelve the books and tidy and place requests and bundle books. but this isn't a discussion about why library staff matter - it's why the libraries matter.
How many times have you heard someone say "I used to go to the library but now I just download cheap or free books on my kindle." or "Libraries are outdated" or any such alternative or mix. But I argue that we do so much more.
Libraries are the heart of many communities, sure they are a place you can go to get books, but they are also a place you can go to meet friends, sit and read and get warm, use the computers and internet, join one of the many events they run, do photocopying, have a chat, anything and everything is possible in a library. 
I don't know about libraries elsewhere, but we certainly are no longer limited to books. For example, so far this week we have had IT help sessions, Children's Book Club, Baby Rhymetime and Storytime, Homework Help Centre, a local playgroup has come for story readings and we have a 'plant and recipe swap' booked for this Thursday, but usually we have a fortnightly 'Knit and Natter' group. We are running a "Local Memories" session next week for people to come in and share thoughts and reminisce about the past and next month we have a Story Writing/Ideas session taking place. There is always something going on and we try to accommodate for people from all walks of life.
We have public computers that can be used, everyone gets half an hour a day for free. We have people doing anything from printing off boarding passes for holidays, checking emails, online shopping, researching family history, writing CV's, job searching, producing posters, playing games - basically anything and everything you could possibly want and we are on hand to offer help.

If the library wasn't there none of this would be possible. It's a great resource and everything is free, in the current climate where many people are out of work or on minimum wage they can't afford to buy their own books or computers, but through us they still get to experience it all. 

I certainly couldn't afford to buy all the books I read, and think about all the books I didn't enjoy or finish reading, they would have been money wasted, but with the library I have lost nothing. 
I honestly believe that libraries will always be a valuable resource -I can't imagine a time when there won't be people who need them. Sure the needs of those people change and we must change to follow the trends but we are an adaptable service and we do our best to keep up and match those needs.

What do you think? Do you visit your library regularly? Is there anything they could do/offer to make them more appealing? 
Do you think they will stand the test of time? - I sure hope they do.

Discuss. :)

Got your own post? Link it here:

Next Weeks topic will be 'Audiobooks! - Do you love to listen?'

1 comment:

madders ahatter said...

I too work in a library as Becky well knows. I think they are more important than ever. For somewhere to go for books that you don't have to buy, of course. And contrary to writer Terry Deary's POV, that isn't unfair to authors. Not only do writers get a few pence for every loan, libraries introduce books to readers who often go on to become buyers. As Becky says, they are also places for people to access computers, both for pleasure and for job-seeking.Not to mention all the events. And strange to say, libraries are picking up on a vital service lost by the closure of so many pubs - a place to socialize. Some of the people who come into our libraries would otherwise not speak to a soul from one week's end to the next.
To my mind, libraries are a vital hub in the community. Close them at your peril.