Sunday, 20 March 2011
Just a thought which came to me the other day as I sat in Richmond Library paging through the latest New Scientist.
A small, curly-haired blonde girl, her shoulders barely reached my knee, skipped past flushed with excitement. "When, mom? When?"
It turned out she was impatient for the start of story-time.
On further investigation - standing up and looking over a bookcase - I saw a dozen or so kids sat in eager circles around a lady squatting on a small plastic chair.
'My' little girl joined the group and the lady started to read from a large yellow book opened on her lap.
I was transported fifty-cough years back in time: the little wooden horse had collected quite a lot of money and stowed it away inside his hollow body when suddenly ...
I remember being completely transported, the words read to me made wonderful images in my mind, evoked real emotions. More than that, the sentences started to imprint patterns on my brain. Patterns representing communication, speech, the written word. I was being taught the more formal structure of written English and loving every second of it. And I was sharing the experience. I was learning the value of shared experiences.
If Richmond Library closes, if thousands of libraries throughout the United Kingdom close, where will these children go? What are we taking away from them by not letting them share this joy?
A library is not just a building from which books are borrowed.