Bookfest is celebrating all that’s good about libraries

Home closure will give residents some respite

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Reading really is one of life’s great pleasures. Whether it’s sinking your teeth into the latest blockbuster release, relaxing with an airport thriller or even reading the newspaper, it’s something that can and does improve people’s lives.

That’s why it’s great to see Portsmouth’s Bookfest back again, bigger and better than ever.

The celebration of all things literary is attracting bigger and bigger names and this year is no exception.

James Herbert is a real coup (42 million copies of his books sold worldwide), as is Bravo Two Zero writer and SAS hero Andy McNab.

Both bring a touch of glamour to the event.

But what’s really great is the underlying message about Bookfest.

Co-organised by the Hayling Island Bookshop and the city council’s library service, it’s about enthusing people to read and, hopefully, make use of libraries – a fantastic and often untapped resource.

How many of us can remember the last time we used the local library?

Yes they’ve changed and offer a great deal more than old paperbacks now, but that’s all for the better.

You can still get pretty much any book and if they’ve not got it, most of the time they can order it in for you.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve run a successful Read All About It campaign aimed at getting children reading in schools, and Bookfest could do the same for adults who have given up reading.

Some people will say they don’t have time to read or don’t like reading. But Bookfest is a chance to re-engage with what is a truly rewarding pastime.

After all, it’s not often you get to come face-to-face with the person who actually created the book you’re holding in your hands.