Saturday, 5 February 2011

S.O.L.—Save Our Libraries

S.O.L. also stands for “Shit Out of Luck” which is what the libraries here will be if we don’t do something.

The government’s new spending cuts have reached libraries now. Many are being closed and others (like ours) are having their hours reduced. Currently our library is open 61 hours a  week but soon it will be down to just 37 hours a week—that’s a loss of 24 hours.

I think the library is the single most important building in a community. Books really do open up a magical world and they are free to take out. As many as you want—free. And access to CDs and DVDs and computers. And newspapers and help with homework assignments and research. For some people, someone to talk to. Some older people going to the library is part of their exercise and social interaction for the day. Same for homeless people. The library is warm and dry place to read and talk with people. There are kiddie programmes like the baby rhyme time that sets kids up for a life of reading and loving words or storytime that makes books exciting or summer reading programme that gets kids reading. Where will these people go without a library? And Mobile Library services are being cut. For people in rural areas this is their lifeline—the most exciting event of the week. What will they do without books?

When Spiderman and I moved to the UK 7 years ago we had NOTHING. We had what we could carry in 6 suitcases and that was it. We lived in an unfurnished flat with an air mattress. Then we bought a radio and used the box as a table. It was a real exciting day when it was your turn to eat off the box. The library was our lifeline. The first thing we did was get library cards. This gave us access to computers so we could email our families and friends and tell them we were happy. It gave us books. When your house is empty, books can sometimes be the only friend you have. I read voraciously (and still do) going at least once to twice a week to my local library. I am at the public library now writing this blog entry—having no internet at home means I depend on free computer time at the public library.

Today is a national day of protest against the 400 planned library closures. The Isle of Wight loses 9 out of 11 of their libraries. Barbaric.

What can you do to show your support to the library? If you do not take advantage of the amazing services they offer ask yourself—why not? Libraries need your support. Books need to be read. Lives need to be changed and access to books can do that.

What can you do to make a difference?


  1. It is ridiculous to think that the library budget can tip the balance in an over inflated budget! Start by cutting real wasteful spending! Trim the budget starting with career politician salaries!

  2. Yep, let's cut the education funds and the library funds----but for heavens sake don't cut the sports budgets in the schools! That's the Louisiana view at the moment. The new moves are gutting the universities. Frances says it is because the state govt has dedicated so many funds that education and libraries are about the only places left that aren't protected.

    Becky Seuss