One of the highlights of last year was joining a library. It was not the first time I had been a member of a library and have usually had a card since a young boy. But moving around London in the last few years denied me the motivation to settle down enough to get a library card. That changed this year and it has been a great source of not only books but also occasionally advice.
With that in mind it seemed a great shame to read The Independent’s article about the closure of so many libraries this year. It seems that investment is lacking. But part of the problem must also be the identity crisis that most libraries seem to be going through. Are these temples of learning that are open to all? Or are they cheap alternatives to Internet cafes and Blockbuster film rental stores? No doubt there is a happy balance between the two but even my local library seems to fall on the wrong side of that tightrope.
Let’s hope that if the government is serious about 2008 being the year of the book that the investment in libraries, and in particular providing books for the public, will improve this year.