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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saving Libraries: A Writer's Perspective

by Jill Earl

The Bookseller, a site covering every aspect of the publishing industry in the U.K., reported earlier this week that a pair of government officials received a letter that called for the ceasing of library closures in the country after a series of read-ins. Besides signatures from organizations, high-profile authors including Terry Jones and Kate Mosse signed off on the letter. Alan Gibbons of Campaign for the Book wrote in regards to the protesters, “They have put out a positive message: our libraries, our communities, our right to have a say over their future."

The article brought back memories of a situation regarding the library in the neighborhood I lived in during my early teens. It was small but it was there I did homework when I wanted a change of scenery and where I spent Saturdays searching for the latest YA novel, or geology guide. l ignored rumors of its closing until a flyer posted on the entrance door confirmed it. Upset, I wrote to city officials, had my mother take me to community meetings, and wrote to the local paper. In this case, the closing was due to a lack of interest and the general outcry was far less vocal than it should’ve been and wasn’t enough. About a year later, the library shut its doors.

In recalling this incident, the message put out by the community at the time wasn’t positive. An opportunity existed for residents to have a say over their future and those of their children, yet many opted not to. That made me sad. Having moved from the community decades ago, I have no idea whether a new library ever returned there. I know that if a situation arose regarding the library in my present neighborhood, and with the county dealing with budget cuts, it very well could, I’d once again fight for a wonderful community resource. As a writer, I’m on board when it comes to encouraging a love of reading, which led me to writing in the first place.

The rest of the Bookseller article can be found here. I don’t know how things will turn out, but I sure hope closures on both sides of the ocean cease.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art


  1. It seems that in our rush to conquer technology, we have forgotten our need to connect with each other on an intellectual, spiritual basis. The advances in multimedia have created an illusion of connectedness, which is exactly illusion.

    Libraries, community centers, and places of worship, are closing by the dozens as people hole up in their homes glued to computer screens, ipads and cellphones. If we are to break the spell of instant satisfaction created by electronic media, we need to morph our libraries and places of community gathering into multimedia stadiums for the growth of mind, body and spirit as well as community.

    Thanks, Jill, very thoughtful post.

  2. Thank you, Linda, I appreciate your comment.


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