EDitorial ± 7-Jun-2004

This Is A Library

Can be awfully difficult in these days of information overload to know what to believe, eh what. Are shoppers using Park And Rides being rendered unconscious by robbers posing as perfume reps but with bottles full of ether? Is it safe to feed rice to pigeons? And can we really be tracked by the metallic strips in our banknotes?

Take these two stories from BBC News online:

  1. "Upturn in visits to UK libraries" (1-Jun-2004) — library visits up by five million in a year
  2. "UK libraries out of use by 2020" (27-Apr-2004) — people will stop using UK libaries in the next 20 years (not 8.20pm, when most are closed anyway)

Going up? Going down? Feels like the Grace Brothers lift.

Not that you'd catch me (a) in a tent or (b) partaking of chicory coffee, but I'm in the first camp. This is entirely due to — three cheers and hats off — the top notch service from Suffolk County Council's libraries, from Aldeburgh to Woodbridge and most letters in between.

Libraries gave us power
— Manic Street Preachers, A Design For Life (1996)

A recent example:

  • from home, I searched the library catalogue for a particular book for eldest, and promptly found it; apparently 20 copies in stock, scattered all over the county, some on loan, some on the shelf
  • still online, reserved a copy, and asked for it to be delivered to my local branch
  • two days later, automatic email arrived: your book is now ready for collection

Ain't that splendid? Thumbs aloft!

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Quiet please:

  1. not to mention Sunday opening, free Internet usage, daily papers, and even a comfy sofa at the local branch
  2. shame that the Tintin DVD (vol 4, The Seven Crystal Balls, etc.) is now two days late
  3. never be lairy in Bury library

Be seeing you!