Many of you will know that today is international Save Our Libraries day today and may have seen the Twitter campaign (#savelibraries) it encouraging everyone to USE their library as much as possible. Like many others around the UK, my local library is facing the threat of either cuts or the reduction of council funding, meaning possible closure because there is to be a cap on the number of community libraries that are fully council funded. So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you why my local library is important for a teenager such as me and I'm sure other book lovers feel exactly the same way.
The library has been a big part of my reading experience ever since I was old enough to appreciate picture books and simple stories. I don't remember ever not having a library card! My first memory of library visits is taking out piles of books from the toddler's section that my mum would read to me before bedtime. As I grew older, I loved browsing the children's section to which books I wanted to read and I remember that I read my first historical fiction book, Blitz-The Diary of Edie Bensen that way. I can try something new without having to worry if I didn't like it and I love the spontaneity of going into the library and picking books that I haven't heard of before but take my fancy.
At the rate I read books, there's no way my mum can buy them all for me so without the library, I might not have the same love of reading today. Where would I be then? More importantly, some families may not be able to afford to read books and that is denying children and teenagers the opportunity to read for pleasure.
The path to my library
It isn't just fictional books I've borrowed. I've had a fascination with Queen Victoria and the Victorians ever since I was two when I visited her holiday home Frogmore (or so my mum tells me I could recognise her at that age) and I always enjoyed taking out non-fiction books about the Victorians and they were invaluable for a school project on the time period. Some people think nearly everything is available on the Internet now for research but it isn't and there's something much more appealing about pouring over several books spread over the table before you trying to find the information you need.
Since I moved to secondary school two years ago, I don't use my local library as much as I did mum and brother go after he is picked up from school when I'm not there and it's much easier to use my school library (which is amazing!) However, I know that I can order a wider range of books from my local library and I often do that.
My brother now goes to a book club for younger children at my library and really enjoys discussing books with others there and finding great new recommendations and hearing about reading challenges throughout the year.
Libraries are an important part of local communities and are key in fostering a love of reading from a young age and providing a wealth of knowledge. Not to mention that they are like a portal to other worlds and lives open to everyone. To think that many could soon be closed is so sad and honestly, disgraceful. My library just went through a renovation and extension for a study area through lottery funding and it would be such a shame to see all that money go to waste. I have so many happy memories from when I was very small there. The government say that libraries with withdrawn funding will be kept open with volunteers but where are they going to come from and the money needed? Being a librarian isn't as simple as tidying shelves.
Books should be available to everyone- a library shouldn't be a luxury! So make a point of borrowing lots of books are your library this week and show how much you love them with your support.
Why are libraries important to you?
Stephanie (Books Are A Girl's Best Friend)