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  • TimCoates replied on 1 Oct 2010 at 17:08

    I do find this article hard to understand. The role of libraries is reasonably clear - they exist for people who want to use them. That is how they fulfill their social purpose.

    Most people who want to use them are already literate and use them to find things to read and for their own information.

    We pay for them through tax because there are many people at all stages of their lives who can't afford to buy all that they need to read - or find a private place to work and study of the kind a library provides. They are not just for the poor or the illiterate, they are for everyone.

    There are many people, and I am one, who worry about the declining collections of books. Over ten years we have lost twenty million books from libraries. That's why we stress the need for collections to improve and more to be spent on them.

    How can libraries improve literacy without books? Why polarise the argument in the way that has been done here? Of course libraries help to encourage literacy, but that is not their only role or the one that should dominate what they do. And they can't do it unless they have new clean abundant book stocks. .. which is why people make the comparison with book shops. It seems obvious.

  • vwalker replied on 20 Oct 2010 at 11:49

    Describing the role of libraries as being there for people who want to use them is hardly clear! That could apply to any service such as a hospital, a community centre, a post office!
    It seems to me that Tim is making exactly the same point as the previous article - libraries are there to support everyone with their reading and information needs. They may well contribute to the general literacy level of society which is an added benefit.

  • Stefania replied on 1 Dec 2010 at 09:43

    This is a site dedicated to literacy, so Mr Douglas s argument makes the point that the least advantaged are set to lose the most when libraries close. I think the middle classes have a choice, if they stay behind and read in the library, browse or not, whilst for the poor is like time out, away from a stressful home environment, I quite liked the description of being as annonymous as you wish to be in a library, just yourself with your own thoughts, possibly ,,stealing,, a bit of learning for yourself, away from peer pressure and/or other numbing routines elsewhere
    Libraries are also for the literacy accomplished, to be sure, but they are already equipped to weather the scorchingly dry learning climate, they would probably set up book clubs ! What will the most disadvantaged do ?

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