Saturday, February 05, 2011
There has been so much quite rightly written about the barbarity of the closure of libraries that I don't want to add much more to it other than to share some personal experiences.
I was introduced to libraries before I could read. In fact because no one picked up my bad short sightedness until I was four it's safe to say I went into libraries before I could even see properly.
The magic of libraries is something that having been seeded in me as a baby in a push chair has never left me. From the library in Blackburn where I first grew up to the central library and the local branch at Rock Road in Cambridge, the place I seek out after the doctor and local milk and paper shop on moving home is the library.
Although they might have been different they all had one thing in common - they allowed you to take books, often by authors you had never heard of, with enticing covers and for fun, books of all sorts, home for free.
If my children are denied that and the generations after them, then we will have lost something so profoundly important that it is almost impossible to predict the consequences.
Stalin once said that he thought ideas were more powerful than guns: "I would not let my enemies have guns so why should I let them have ideas."
Ideas, knowledge and an interest in life come from books and it would be a cruel person indeed who made moves to deny us all the chance to have those ideas.