For the Community and Disadvantaged

“Libraries are not an indulgence. They can have a transformative power – especially for those marginalized, disenfranchised, alone, or simply open a world of stories and imagination to readers young and old.” Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive, Harrogate International Festivals.  

  • significant proportion of the population (23% according to national statistics) does not have an internet connection at home.  Those people most in need are precisely those without an ebook or the internet e.g. unemployed, those on low incomes, senior citizen. Libraries offeronline and access for all, often free.  The United Nations has declared that internet access is a human right - public libraries uphold that right. In addition, using the internet means one can take advantage of special offers (e.g. comparison websites) meaning that by not allowing libraries and thus free internet access, the poor are being forced to pay more while the wealthier can pay less.

“If people can’t get to a library, or they’re put off by how they’re taught, they won’t make the step to using digital services”.  Bevan Foundation .  One third of households in Wales may not have easy online access and thus will miss out on online-only government services.

“Morris Cohen, aged 90, spoke in favour of Neasden Library. He said: “Elderly people use it as a home not just a library.”Neasden used to be a no-go area but the library has been a positive influence, it will deteriorate if you close it.” (Harrow Observer)

  • The library is often the only place where the user can talk to others. This goes directly against the stereotype of public libraries as quiet places.  One user of the library where the author works has said that he would kill himself if the library closed down as there would be nothing else for him to do and no-one else he could talk to.

“But principally they are about people. People with a curiosity about life and the world around them. People who want to learn or escape into literary fantasy, people who like to meet. People who fall in love. To hack away at anything which is principally about people always seems especially harsh and counter-productive to me.” (Anne Pickles, News & Star)

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