When I was writing The Four Realms and I felt I’d hit a real roadblock with the writing, I would take a pen and some paper and go visit my local library. Somehow, that break away from the computer, armed with only the bare basics of writing could break even the knottiest of problems.
Whilst sat there with no other ways to procrastinate I’d watch the people come and go. There would be the kids excited about getting a new story book, just starting on their journey with reading. Then there would be students looking for a quiet place to work away from their noisy households or a place to research for their studies. There would be those who did not have internet access, downloading forms or sending emails to friends far away. There would be job seekers looking in the papers or online for jobs. There would be middle-aged people, looking up town council minutes or researching local history. And then there would be the elderly, who would come in to read the paper or to keep their mind active in their later years.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that libraries have been replaced by the internet, but for some people internet access is a luxury they cannot afford. All these different people found help and assistance from the staff and it made me realise just how much people still rely on libraries. They are the most democratic places, with knowledge open to all, and whilst how we interface with knowledge is changing, there’s always going to be a need for libraries as a way to provide free access to that knowledge.
This is why campaigns like Save Lincolnshire Libraries are vital. They are grass roots campaigns to protect access to knowledge for all from spending cuts.
Despite what some might say, the internet is a privilege, libraries are a right.