Libraries are an invaluable part of society, not only providing access to books but also to IT resources and many community events. In the past a lack of funding towards this resource has been a sore point among a lot of people, considering the many services that libraries provide and the increase in funding will undoubtedly make a huge difference in communities. But what exactly does more funding for public libraries mean? Well, in short, it’s a lot of good things for a community, but in detail it means:
Increased Access to Books
Whether it be an epic fantasy, gritty mystery, romantic history, or something a little more academic that dives into fascinating facts about lots of topics, libraries provide a wide range of books to anyone who wants them, for the small price of a library card. The borrowing and lending system is great for anyone who doesn’t want to commit to buying books, lacks the space to keep them, or simply doesn’t have the money to spare to fill up a bookshelf. It also provides access to books for children and many libraries run events to encourage children to read, such as prizes for reading during the summer holidays. With children consuming more and more television and having access to services such as Youtube, encouraging reading at a young age is harder than ever, but the programs provided by libraries certainly help.
Though having at least one computer at home is typically the norm, not everybody can afford to buy or run one or may have multiple people who need to use a computer at once. Libraries usually have numerous computers available for public use, sometimes free or sometimes charging a small amount per hour to use them. They also provide other IT facilities like printers, something less common in an average household, and often charge as little as 20p to print a black and white document. Some libraries, the ones equipped for it, even provide online classes or IT training to the public for free in many different subjects, ranging from recreational to academic.
Many libraries provide their space for community events, renting out the area for the individual’s needs. These can include events such as Slimming World/Weight Watchers meetings, providing an office or room away from the main library for members to meet, or even provides spaces for classes or private tutors who may not want to teach from home. These spaces are great for bringing people together, providing a safe and quiet place for a group of people to meet and share mutual interests, or use the other resources to learn in an environment that encourages it.
In modern times, the increase in streaming sites such as Netflix has meant that fewer people require media devices such as DVD players in the home. However, many libraries still provide DVDs to the public, ranging from pure entertainment to academic videos. For people who don’t use streaming sites, accessing these things can be difficult due to the fall of DVD and video stores, so libraries continuing to provide this service is important.
Libraries provide many other things to the public, which if I had the time I could talk about endlessly, but even the few reasons listed are proof of why funding for public libraries is a thing that is needed. Often, funding for public spaces is overlooked so it’s refreshing to see more money going towards such a valuable resource to the community. An increase in funding means that the resources listed (and the ones not) are more easily accessible for those that need them.