Thank your lucky stars for libraries
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018
I love libraries. For me they mean headspace, escape, books, books, and more books and a safe environment run by non-judgmental people who mean well.
There are things to surprise me and the means to explore them, help when I'm stumped, resources I can only dream of at home and always a feeling of being welcome.
Libraries have always been part of my life – at the age of eight I was banned from changing my books more than twice a day – and they're a first port of call whenever I visit any new place.
Nowadays, Earlham, the Millennium, UEA and the NSFT Frank Curtis are all within biking distance, but there are borrowing cards for about 10 more to hand in case I need them...
I love how libraries welcome and care for all of us.
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They make a great difference to my own life, and have helped hugely in my work with people living with memory loss.
The Millennium Library hosts a monthly singing group, and it's good each time to watch my friends from Come Singing arrive for the session, happy to be in this safe, welcoming and familiar space.
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There are trained volunteers too who can help people to make Music Mirrors, simple toolkits linking life story memories to sound and music.
This is care in the community writ large: the work of library staff goes far beyond issuing and shelving books in enhancing our lives.
There are language exchanges, colour me calm, community projects like The Tricky Period, Harry Potter exhibitions, talks, help with technology and even yoga – this doesn't even scratch the surface of what's available but every one of us can be included and made to feel at home.
Libraries help us to thrive and grow.
These are unsettling days of cuts, reshuffles and rationalisation, and libraries are certainly not immune.
We all value and need them, and we can support even more by just by being there, borrowing lots of books turning up for events – or even by becoming part of a Friends' group and putting forward our own ideas to make good things happen.
During these gloomy winter days, keep your spirits up in the library and thank your lucky stars that such wonderful places exist as the centre of our communities.