Libraries are changing but they’re still a great asset

European workers including nurses, social workers and teaching assistants protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London before lobbying MPs over their right to remain in the UK.  Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

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It’s fair to say that Google has pretty much changed everything.

Need to know anything under the sun?

Back in the day, that might have meant a flick through an encyclopaedia.

Now, in less than a second, you can get the answer to any question you may have – and you can do this on your mobile phone, or on a tablet while watching the television.

Once upon a time, the holding of information was a function fulfilled by your local community library.

But no more.

So, as we report today, libraries across the area have been busy reinventing themselves.

Some offer web access and community rooms, others include coffee shops – all with the aim of broadening the appeal of libraries.

That’s something we wholeheartedly approve of.

A library is a great gift to any community.

Whether it acts as simply a place to go to peruse the paper or whether it’s your main source of books, its importance cannot be overstated.

Who doesn’t remember going to the library as a youngster, whether at school or in town?

It’s a rite of passage that most experience and although as people get older, they may visit libraries less, often that’s simply because they’ve forgotten how great they are.

Free books. To anyone.

So, as we report today, libraries are changing and as the inevitable cuts bite, some face an uncertain future.

Some may be moved and some may be reborn.

But, as is often the case, the message to the community is ‘use it or lose it’.

Because once a library is gone, you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be coming back.

And also remember the joy a simple book can bring to people of any age.

Getting lost in a story is a timeless pleasure from the youngest to the oldest reader.

So we wish all our libraries a long and prosperous future, whatever form they take.