I OWE a great deal to libraries and particularly the libraries of Portsmouth.
Without them I might never have discovered the sheer joy of reading and ultimately have become a crime writer.
Coming from a household where money was tight, I was fortunate enough to be introduced by a friend’s mother to the Alderman Lacey Library in Tangier Road.
There I discovered a treasure trove of books, the sheer volume and variety of which would have been impossible for my parents to buy, let alone store.
I devoured everything from adventure to classics and many in between. Books opened up a whole new world for me as a child, providing me with endless hours of pleasure, an escape into another world so very different from my own and the library inspired in me a life long passion for reading, and for writing.
Books enrich our lives in so many ways, not only are they good for our health, because reading increases confidence and can help to alleviate depression, but books also enlighten, educate, entertain and inform. And what’s more libraries provide that free, to one and all.
There are many who cannot afford to buy books and who certainly don’t have access to the wide range of books that the libraries provide.
Trained librarians are also essential. They are able to advise and assist individuals, they have the experience and expertise to select a wide range of stock, they catalogue and curate vital local and national collections and they also play a major part in helping to bring the community together.
We need public libraries and we need librarians.