Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)
Yes, it has taken me until now to read the newspaper I bought on the 4th of May. That tells you all you need to know about how busy I am. But one article prompted me to write...
"Sharp drop in adults visiting libraries, study shows" by Alison Flood in The Guardian
The number of adults in Britain visiting the library has fallen by 30% in the last 10 years, according to a report from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The Taking Part study found that in the year to September 2015, 33.9% of adults used the public library service - a fall of 30% from 2005-6 when data collection began and when 48.2% said they had visited the library in the previous 12 months.
The last time I visited a library was in October last year, but it was only to buy a parking disc. For me, the average person, the ability to have books delivered to the door is a serious time saver; especially in a world where finding car parking spaces is a fight, the charges are ludicrously high and you can bet that someone will open their door without giving a damn and leave their paint on my beloved vehicle. I mean, a free book doesn't cut it against that kind of hassle. Not only that, my TBR pile would have cost be a small fortune in late fines by now.
The problem is that the other functions that the library provides, especially as a place for youngsters to visit, by the class load, as a mini-museum, and all the rest of the things that come along with being a social hub... are at risk.
No, I'm not going to go on a tirade against Amazon. This is just the way that society has progressed. Internet shopping, no matter from who, would have happened anyway. Amazon does have financial resource, which enables it to put book stores in key places, like shopping centres, which would otherwise be too expensive for the independent book sellers; but that is a fight that's coming in the next few years.
There are other things that the library can do. They have lending licenses for other media such as music and video.One of my relatives recounts borrowing vinyl albums and having to take his needle with him for microscope inspection, before being allowed to take one out.
Listening booths could encourage people to come in and listen to an album, or watch a film; it might even encourage talking groups of music and film fans to take up home there. The limit on the physical numbers of booths would stop outright abuse.
The only way that I can see, is for libraries to expand their image beyond books, and become a community home to all sorts of media in general. If music means more to people than the written word, and gets people through the door, that can only be a good thing. Right?