Nicola here! On Saturday I went to Shoreham-by-Sea to give a talk in celebration of National Libraries Day. It was a wonderful occasion to be surrounded by fellow library fans, have afternoon tea and cake and talk about books, writing and history. Public libraries are so hugely important. The library has always played a big part in my life and in the development of my love of reading and writing. I can remember as a teenager taking the bus a few miles down the road to our closest local library at Oakwood in Leeds where I scoured the shelves to feed my appetite for historical fiction. Our school library was in a grand old building that looked as though it came straight out of a historical novel itself.
Libraries in the UK are under threat as never before from cuts to local government spending. Some have closed down, others have cut back their opening hours and some have had to make cuts in their stock and the facilities they provide. None of this feels like a good thing. These days, libraries provide so much to the communities they serve. It’s not just about the books – though if it was that would still be good enough! Libraries have so many different purposes, contributing to culture and the community. To lose them would be a tragedy.