Valentine’s Day may be all about showing your nearest and dearest how much you care for them, or perhaps to declare your feelings to someone special who maybe doesn’t yet know it, but how about spreading the love a little further by visiting your library?
February has been designated National Library Lovers Month, and the idea is to get regular library-goers and those who’ve not visited for a long time, to pop into their local library. (We would say it is also for those who have never visited a library, but surely everyone has visited a library at some time in their life…?)
So, why should you visit a library? What do they have to offer? Sure, they loan out books, but that’s it, isn’t it?
Well, no. That’s not it. Libraries are about so much more. Here are just some of the benefits that libraries bring.
- Access to knowledge
Libraries are treasure troves of information and knowledge. They provide access to a wide range of books, magazines, and other resources, offering individuals the opportunity to learn about diverse subjects.
Of course, libraries have thousands of books, and with so much choice, there is something for everyone. But they don’t just house novels. Libraries have reference material, biographies, and periodicals, and for those who like to get away from a screen and see the proper printed version, you can often pop in to read the daily newspaper!
- Community hub
Libraries serve as community hubs where people can gather, connect and engage. They host events, book clubs, children’s story-time, and educational programmes that foster a sense of community.
- Free stuff!
Libraries offer a wealth of resources, and most of it is for free. From books to digital media, many libraries provide access to materials without any cost. This means libraries truly are universal and diverse. They are for everybody, and not just the few.
- History and heritage
Libraries play a crucial role in preserving and promoting heritage. They house historical documents, manuscripts and rare books, ensuring that future generations will still have access to them. Without libraries, so much would be lost.
- They are techy
If you still think libraries are the preserve of dusty shelves of books, then think again. You can get great technology access at your library. Many offer access to computers, the internet and other IT tools. This helps bridge the digital divide and ensures that even those without personal access to such resources can benefit.
Yes, libraries are still quiet spaces. And so they should be. You can just sit in a library and enjoy the peace and quiet, and the company of books. They truly offer a route to mindfulness, as spaces for reflection, concentration and intellectual exploration.
- Encouraging lifelong learning
Learning shouldn’t begin and end with school. Human beings are geared up to learn for life, and libraries help us to start and to continue that learning journey. They are with us at every stage in life, supporting learning from early childhood, to the adolescent years, and throughout adulthood.
- Ask a librarian
Librarians are brilliant, well-informed and helpful people. They can direct you to resources to help research and even give you reading recommendations. They have a wealth of information to offer and they truly enhance the library experience.
Sadly, the library service is under threat. A report in 2022 revealed that 800 had closed in the UK since 2010. Every year, more and more libraries are shutting their doors, often because the local authorities that run them can no longer afford the cost of maintenance and upkeep. Dwindling numbers of library-goers probably makes a decision to close a little easier! Visitor numbers have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
If you are lucky enough to have a local library still, then show it some love. Pay it regular visits, use its services and let’s keep our libraries alive! And if writing and publishing a children’s book is on your bucket list, wouldn’t it be great to see it sitting proudly on a shelf in your local library one day?!
If you have a story you would like turning into a beautifully illustrated book, then send us a message and start the journey today!
Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)