The diary of the human race

Some people will be reading this and thinking: why the fuss? They will point to alternatives such as Amazon, and the books on sale in supermarkets; like David Lammy they will focus on (obsess about, in his case) ‘access’, and the internet; they will wonder why we can’t look to the future rather than the past. But that would be to make a gross error of judgment. What we lose now, we will never be able to get back. Thanks to legislation passed more than 150 years ago (the Public Libraries Act of 1850), there are some 3,000 libraries in Britain – a system of which we can be justly, straightforwardly, proud.

Rachel Cooke sets Labour straight in today’s Observer. And she blogs about it over here.


One thought on “The diary of the human race

  1. The BBC website is, not unsurprisingly, heading down a similar route; see ‘Love it or lose it‘ . It begins:

    “Public libraries are on the verge of extinction warn campaigners. How can they be protected for the future?

    Be honest – when did you last use your local library? Do you even know where it is? There is a chance you might find out too late and it’ll have closed.”

    Rather smugly, I can say that I last used my local library this afternoon when my son and I returned last month’s books and made this month’s selections. I have always been a fan of libraries, searching my local one(s) out in each new place of residence. If you want to know where your local Irish library is, and why it is there, have a look at the excellent Brendan Grimes IRISH CARNEGIE LIBRARIES: A CATALOGUE AND ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY (Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 1998) This lovingly written and produced book features many of the libraries in which I have whiled away countless happy hours leafing through books, happening upon serendipitous finds, confirming my prejudices and confounding my expectations. Let’s hope that we do not catch the library closure disease …

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