Library protests planned for tomorrow

Tomorrow will see libraries up and down the country stage protests, of various sorts, against the proposed closure of about 400 libraries. With events ranging from straight up protests to author readings, organisers are hoping to get hundreds of people to show their support for libraries.

The subject, as with so much of the cuts debate, has been highly emotive. Libraries though is a hard one to call. People have a very rose-tinted view of libraries, but very few people really them regularly. Part of the reason for this is that people can now buy books fairly cheaply on the high-street and online, and can get other information easily over the internet. Quite simply demand for the staple services of libraries have diminished significantly.

On the other hand, libraries can be a wonderful local resource. At their best they not only provide books and films, but a variety of courses and activities for communities, and act as a social hub. They can also give people access to technology like the internet or a computer that they may not have at home. Of course, libraries also act as a haven for many, providing a quiet space for reading, research or writing.

So it’s a tough one for the Government and local councils. Nostalgia vs pragmatism vs protecting the country’s poorest communities. Inevitably as time goes on libraries will become less and less relevant, as access to information becomes even easier. it is not like the Government are proposing the closure of every library in the land either. Without doubt some of the opposition is based on symbolism not practicalities, but the closures that do happen will have an effect on the communities in which they occur.

The Guardian have provided a full list of protests.

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