Libraries across the country are battling against tough funding cuts at the hands of recent budget announcements.
The Conservative government have regularly and systematically cut funding for the arts over the last five years. It has left libraries across the country in a particularly vulnerable state.
In light of the recent budget announcements, and the Chancellor’s plan to cut more than £12bn in local services, our treasured libraries are under fire.
Fortunately, such actions tend to draw out the community spirit, and that is certainly the case here.
Recently, communities in Falkirk, Walsall, and Croydon have come together to protest and save their local libraries.
These cherished institutions hold a lot of memories for residents. These are places where children learn the wonder of storytelling, and gather a huge depth of knowledge.
Is there anything better than finding a quiet corner in the library, and getting lost in a classic? There is another factor at play here, and that’s the enormous leaps in technology.
With the rise of tablets, Kindles and e-readers, do children still associate with libraries in the same way? In the wake of this news, we investigated further.
Unless you’ve stayed well away from the news, you’ll have noticed that harsh cuts are being implemented nationwide. Cuts to welfare have made headlines over the last six months, but there’s a deeper problem at play.
Local councils and authorities have been forced to make huge cutbacks. Unfortunately, that means targeting those areas that make little or no profit.
In other words, libraries (which aren’t allowed to charge for loans) are first in the firing line. Councils are now facing budget restrictions and tighter purse strings.
But, there’s one thing that will help save them, and that’s public pressure.
As we mentioned earlier, technology has played a big part in the way we consume books. Children are now reading their first novels on a Kindle or iPad.
They become engrossed in games and media rather than a traditional hardback! However, many libraries are responding to this change in consumption.
They are changing library design to include new technology. They implement learning pods, and use tablets to help people navigate the library.
These institutions are adapting to the world around them, and it’s imperative that local government allows them to.
Of course, it’s the community spirit that will help keep our libraries open. Every time a closure is imminent, local groups rally together to put pressure on the local council.
We’ve seen this happen in a big way in Falkirk and Croydon over the last few weeks. Starting with a simple petition, residents will fight to keep their libraries open and free for all.
Local parents understand that libraries are a vital gateway for their children’s learning and growth. They’re a focal point of the community, and help bring people together.
For the moment, the future of our libraries is far from certain. Under the difficult budget cuts, there’s a tough road ahead. But one thing’s for sure; residents will fight to keep them open! And that’s something we love to see happening across the UK.