FOR some strange reason, best known only to themselves, there has been a spate of ‘library bashing’ in Sheffield from a number of individuals.
We all know what has happened to libraries and, as library users, we have been horrified at any attempt to close our local libraries, or indeed lose our iconic Central Library to any use other than what it was originally intended for.
I started using a library when I was a very young child. My sister and I were taken down to Firth Park Library every Saturday by our father to choose books, and together with my mother, sit happily in the evening reading our books.
I never thought that when I grew up I would actually work at that library as a library assistant. I think that, at the age I am, I can be called somewhat of an expert in the standard of libraries today.
My local branch, Stannington Library, seems to have born the brunt of much of the tirades.
I have been using this library for the past 24 years and I can honestly say that I have never once noticed any fall in the standards of this lovely little place. It is warm and welcoming and its staff are helpful, knowledgeable and patient given the number of books I order, and which incidentally arrive most speedily.
It is a very important part of the local community and involves local schools, churches and other organisations in its many events. In a time when many people suffer the scourge of loneliness, it offers a chance for them to make friends and have a social life.
We all know that there are no longer paid members of staff in facilities like Stannington Library. This is not going to change, but while we have the dedication and commitment of people who care what happens in their local community, we have an alternative, and not one that is sub-standard in any way.
In an age when reading has taken a bit of a knock with many children more interested in electronic gadgets than the wealth of literature around, keeping libraries open has never been more important than it is today.
From: Henry Cobden, Ilkley.
THE recent column on libraries by campaigner Laura Swaffield should be required reading for every council chief executive in the county because it shows why these facilities, and buildings, should be seen as investment because of their wider benefits to society. Let’s have a moratorium on library cuts and closures in 2019 from every council.