Friday, 10 October 2008
Some Libraries Have Already Seen The Light
I have just been listening to an item on BBC Breakfast about a suggestion that libraries should introduce coffee shops to make them more popular. Another criticism was library opening hours, where many do not open before 10am, so mothers are unable to pop in after having dropped the children off at school.
It struck me that someone hadn't done their research very well because my local library is doing these things already. I have written a couple of times on this blog about using my local library and how it had changed from what it was like when I was a child. I assume that my library is not unique and that it is likely that all the libraries, or at least a majority of them in the borough, are operating in a more enlightened way.
The library is open seven days a week, opening at 9am every morning except for Sunday when it opens at 10. It also remains open well into the evening most days. The library has 16 computers for the public to use, and a couple of games machines for the youngsters. It also has a coffee and tea machine, as well as a machine that stocks snacks and chocolates and a variety of soft drinks.
The borough of London in which I live is not one of the richest; in fact it probably comes quite low down the scale of such things. However, it seems that the council take a very enlightened view of how libraries should be in this day and age, and as such should be seen as a model for other parts of the country. It is only a small library, but it is used extensively by all ages, and it can be quite difficult to use one of the computers there without having to wait to book one at a later time in the day.
The library is always full of people reading newspapers or people like myself who are using it as a place of study, it is used to hold meetings of local organisations, it organises showings of classic films monthly, hosts writers who give talks about the writing process, and provides socialising activities for preschool age children several times a week.
It just goes to show what can be done when people put their minds to it, and should be seen as a shining example of how a local resource can be used for the benefit of all the people that it serves.