Today was my first ever protest, complete with placards. As I get older, I realise how important it is to stand up for things that you believe in, rather than expecting other people to do it. If everyone waited for someone else to make a difference, nothing would ever get done.
Libraries are all around us…or are they? Many are under threat due to ‘cutbacks’ and are seemingly easy targets because everyone has access to the internet or buys books on Amazon. But do they? There are many people who rely on the library such as the elderly or those seeking jobs. People go there for many reasons and it is often those people who don’t have a voice, when facilities like this are threatened.
When I was young and first suffered from M.E., there was no internet. There was no TV in my bedroom. What there was, was a library opposite my doctor’s surgery, and a trailer library that visited my village. When I had books, I could forget about everything bad and transport myself to a world where children went off on adventures and solved mysteries. They had picnics and drank ‘lashings of ginger beer’. There was magic and mayhem and it all happened within the pages of a book. I borrowed a lot of books. It didn’t cost a thing. Not only did it pass the time, but I learned things and I didn’t feel lonely when I was absorbed in a book. Surely, future generations deserve the same access to books that we had.
Had I not read such a wealth of material, I doubt that I would have written a single book, let alone a third novel, so I feel very sad that the council could even contemplate closing this valuable service, in the name of cutbacks. Books are the building blocks of knowledge and what kind of society limits access to only those who can afford to pay?
So, this is why I protested. We stood as long as we each could manage: the very elderly lady, the parents, their children, the readers, the writer, the community. Hopefully, we spoke for those without voices and we have made it clear that we value our library and it should remain as a source of knowledge for years to come.