Malorie Blackman, the Children’s Laureate, has attacked the government for failing to stop local authorities closing libraries. She says that “For children they provide an equaliser that allows everyone access to books, story-telling sessions, homework clubs; expert librarians who give non-partisan assistance and advice regarding books; and warm and safe environments within which to discover and explore the world of literature.”
Some time ago a friend who lives in the Cotswolds told me they were closing her local library but it didn’t really matter because everyone had lots of books in their own homes. If that’s a typical view in Gloucestershire, I pity the poor kids there who don’t have their own personal libraries. Well, here in Sandwell it’s a very different economic picture and perhaps that’s one of the reasons why none of our libraries has been closed in this latest round of cuts.
In a world that’s becoming more and more unequal a library is the one place where all children can discover the amazing books out there. (Plus free internet access and often free printouts for homework.) Who can put a value on that?