I was very angry and saddened to hear Terry Deary’s recent comment that “libraries have had their day”. I’m not sure why Deary has failed to notice that libraries offer free internet access to people who would be otherwise completely unable to take advantage of ‘the electronic age’. Public libraries also offer people who did not grow up with computers the opportunity to learn how to use them, in turn allowing them to participate in an increasingly digital society where everything from job applications to shopping is done online.
If anything, the increasing use of digital resources is making libraries more prevalent. The library is the place where my pupils do their internet research and print off their homework – many of them do not have access to their own personal computer or printer. The library is also the place where reliable information sources can be found when Wikipedia or Google prove to yield insufficient information on a topic.
The irony of his comment makes me feel very sad as the Horrible Histories books are still very well borrowed in my library by pupils who may not have access to many books (particularly non-fiction) at home.
Despite Deary’s swipe at ‘sentimentality’, this word aptly describes the emotions I feel towards the Horrible Histories books, having grown up reading them…at my local library…because my parents couldn’t afford to buy me them and the library offered a safe haven from my often hectic household.
Rant over. I’m still angry though.