One of my earliest and fondest memories is visiting the local library in Monkwearmouth (in Sunderland where I was born) with my Grandad when he used to visit us every Friday. Wherever we have lived the local library and its ever helpful staff have made us feel welcome in the local community. There is a well meaning surge of tweets on twitter this evening on the importance of not closing local libraries tagged #savelibraries . Three that particularly caught my eye:
@libs_lib: They’re the only place you can get free help finding dead relatives, fixing your car, & IDing that weird lump on your back.
@plunderpuss: Libraries are important: they make knowledge available to everyone, and communities with higher literacy have lower crime! #savelibraries
@quantumapple: “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” Gandhi #savelibraries #1984
The library at Stony Stratford was this weekend completely empty of books according to the Guardian article that said:
The empty shelves, as the library users want to demonstrate, represent the gaping void in their community if Milton Keynes council gets its way.
I wonder whether we should start a similar campaign not to illustrate the void but to capture the knowledge before it is lost. We should all get to our local libraries as quickly as possible and capture the anecdotes about the library and the services they provide. This would all then build up into a vital oral history that we could dip into in a few years when everyone has forgotten why a local library is important. Like the seed bank at Kew Gardens.
We could also swamp our local and national newspapers with letters, stories and articles that we collect that would ensure everyone has the chance to make sense of the current situation and realise just what we stand to lose.