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5 Reasons Why Libraries Are Terrific

The Underground Library is my tribute to libraries across the world. They have always formed a large part of my life, providing a place in which to read, write, research, and now speak, and I have this glorious opportunity to thank them and librarians everywhere.



1.     They Are Current 

Libraries are continually reinventing themselves to deliver information, ideas, and the movements of the moment. Most libraries contain a space where talks occur, community meetings, lectures, and discussion. During the Second World War, they came into their own, a central community space to share information about the war, the bomb precautions, signing up for war work, food and clothing rations, and where to get help in case of bomb damage. No public library is simply a collection of books. It is a force for the dissemination of current issues.

2.     They Are Involving 

Libraries bring people together. During the war, groups appeared in libraries across the world, binding people with similar needs: to educate themselves, to find help, and to build alliances and connections—a group survives the storm better than an individual. But more than that, they gave people comfort, providing words from books written sometimes centuries ago, a context in which to see this war.

3.     They Are Inclusive 

As most of them were created to help educate the poorer members of society, they aim to level the playing field, drawing the disaffected into society, harnessing the power of information—through books, computers, leaflets, and discussion—to make society a more inclusive place.

4.     They Promote Individualism 

A library provides a wealth of opportunities, from choosing a book to finding the right group to join or adult learning course to try. It gives individuals the freedom to choose their path, to find what makes them tick. As a child, I remember the excitement of having free reign to pick my own books, rather than the school or my parents giving them to me. This was my choice, my own mind I was nourishing.

5.     They Expand your Mind 

Every library is an opportunity to learn a new skill, get a new hobby, make new friends, browse the new prize-winners, read the newspaper, or simply to sit down and reflect. For me, it has always been a haven, as Juliet says in The Underground Library, “a treasure chest of different worlds.”

Find out more about The Underground Library here.


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