Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Libraries

They'll soon become a thing of the past. Why bother using them anyway? It's all on the internet, right? Who wants to get up, put their shoes and jacket on, walk all the way down the street in the cold, rain and dark to go into a building whose soul purpose is to lavish stories of wonder and life-long experience on you for free? A place that's quiet, peaceful, thought-provoking, and staffed by friendly people whose job is to help you find the book or information you want. Why bother? It's all on the internet. Sure, your view is kind of obstructed by myriad ads for things you don't want or need, slowed down by lag, and the occasional eye strain headache, but it's there, isn't it? Sure you might forget to actually look for the thing you were looking for while distracted by a picture of a cat on a treadmill or Boris Johnson on a unicycle. Or you might just occasionally think, 'ach, I'll just jump on the old facebook or youtube to entertain myself first' and before you know it it's 5am and you're dehydrated and thinking, "what the hell just happened to the last 12 hours?" Who wants to have to actually hold a lump of paper mulch and turn the pages - what an effort! Much easier to scroll. Apart from the repetitive strain injury of course. And then you have to find a bookmark, and remember when the book's to go back. Who wants that hassle? If something's free it's worthless, right? If something's free it's worthless.
Clementinum in Prague, Czech Republic
Libraries should be protected and expanded, not shrunk or suffer reduction in opening hours. In this day and age of spiritual and creative desertification it's imperative that we ensure that the last bastions of hope, adventure, knowledge, discovery, peace & quiet, wisdom, self expression and thought are preserved. If everything becomes digitised it'll become characterless ones and zeros. Humanity will take another step towards the electronic abyss and drown itself in a River Styx of Google ads for six packs and Nikes. Libraries are universes within universes. Words are thoughts.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Saving Carmondean Library


Had a nice meeting at BNI TGI in the Edinburgh Marriott after which rushed back to Dobbies, Livingston to begin some video editing, when at the back of nine I saw on the Save Our Ability Centre - West Lothian FB Page there was a meeting about the proposed squeezed relocation of Carmondean Library into the Ability Centre building, at 9:30am in Livi Civic Centre. 

Typical, I thought. Having the meeting just when I'm at BNI TGI and can't attend. Then I looked at my watch. It was 9:10am. Oh. I can attend.

Immediately discarded my half drunk pot of tea and jumped in the car, parked it up at Howden Park and legged it down the hill to the Civic Centre with loads of great arguments I intended to put forward for how important libraries are (student literacy levels, social interaction, promoting and using imagination and creativity) and why Carmondean Library is perfect where it is (nice and central, next to supermarket, health centre and park) and should be protected, invested in, expanded even (more books, audio books, DVDs, book clubs, writing classes) - not crammed into a building and shuffled off out of sight.

I jogged breathlessly into the Civic Centre only 10 minutes after the meeting started, signed in and crept into the public gallery unsure whether I could/should/wanted to say something, and/or whether I should blurt something out even if I wasn't allowed, while simultaneously shaking my fist or some such. 

After a nice chap confirmed to me the public weren't actually permitted to comment, I resigned myself to sitting in the public gallery between someone who bore all the resemblances to being a reporter from my days doing work experience at the EK News, and two other people sitting up the back. 

The Save Carmondean Library issue was the last on the agenda. It turned out the nice guy who who told me I couldn't comment was the Acting head of Housing, Customer and Building Services who seemed to be leading the charge to move Carmondean Library into the Ability Centre (push pull Jaws effect here) and 'decant' the staff and users of the Ability Centre into Deans Community High School for ten months while the renovations took place. 

According to he and the Acting Head of Social Policy the feedback that they had received about the proposal to cram Carmondean Library and Ability Centre into one building was nothing but positive. Everybody they had spoken to was over the moon about the move. People were tripping over themselves to spill adulations and praise upon them like pearls.

But who have they talked to? Well, not me. And they don't seem to have heard of Facebook in general or the 'Save The Ability Centre' page or 'Save Carmondean Library' pages in particular.

After cramming my fist in my mouth in an effort to not blurt out something untoward, the meeting drew to a close and I had a chat with the other two good people in the gallery, who it turns out were to be my allies in this fight, and I look forward to working with them in the hope that we can bring this to light, reach the public and find out whether it really is a necessary and popular move, and if not, what else can be done instead.

It's just a shame a public consultation (not to be confused with 'engagement') was carried out before all of these plans were put in motion rather than in the coming months just before they are finalised.

Then if/when we win all their work that we have paid for will not have been in vain.