Life-changing libraries

Libraries are one of the great empowering institutions. They are one of the great engines of culture and civilisation and deserve to be supported and protected.

They will undoubtedly change in the digital age but the basic function — sharing literature, music and knowledge, providing inspiration for fertile minds and resources for researchers will not change. In reality the collapse of barriers once represented by geography make libraries ever more relevant and accessible. No library in the world is now beyond the reach of anyone anywhere. This is a huge liberation and can only be a great advance for us all.

The Summer Reading Programme is opening doors for thousands of young people and if a lifelong reading habit is formed because of the project then it will be more than worthwhile.

On our books pages today poet and librarian Thomas McCarthy reviews an anthology in which various writers celebrate the place and influence libraries have in their lives. There is a common theme warning against the kind of cuts our economic situation might make necessary but there is also a common optimism that such a great force for good can survive most anything.


Lifestyle

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