Above is an artists impression of the soon-to-be NEW! library in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire (my local town).
Libraries are SO important. The Guardian posted a really interesting article (here) earlier this month looking at the worlds most literate nations. Finland, apparently, is number one according to a recent report. The UK came 16th. Okay, that’s not bad considering the number of countries in the world but we can do better.
Not so long ago, when I was living in North London, we had a library at the end of our street. That was sold to build flats. It was never replaced. Many, many libraries have disappeared all over the UK in the past ten years. As recently as 2012, the Local Government Association was predicting the extinction of all libraries by 2020! You can read that alarming article here.
As the Guardian article notes – Diana Gerald, chief executive of UK reading charity BookTrust, said the message to draw from the research was that “we have to get children reading more, and enjoying it more”.
Just recently, my eldest son suddenly found the reading bug via Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid books. It doesn’t matter how they get there but getting there is vital. Libraries play such a big part in enriching a child’s life and opening them up to all manner of experiences and mind expanding topics.
According to the report – “The power and value of being literate in a literate society is played out every day around the world. Many individuals, and even whole societies, make considerable sacrifices to become literate just as others take it for granted. Societies that do not practice literate behaviour are often squalid, undernourished in mind and body, repressive of human rights and dignity, brutal and harsh.”
Better get reading then!