In a desperate bid to save their local libraries a Scottish Council have introduced a variety of different activities, within the library, to attract more of the community – including pole-dancing. The activities are to take place on Love Your Library Day on the 2nd of February.
With Government cuts, and the changing digital trends, the number of people that use libraries has declined massively. Many are now being closed altogether and part of our literary heritage is right on the brink of extinction. But what can we do?
Reading is Amazing
Introducing pole-dancing – which is interestingly called ‘Pole Fitness’ – smacks of desperation to me. Alright, so you get a few people in to the building for one day that wouldn’t normally go there but why would they come back? They’re not there for the books, just poles, and if you take the poles away then what’s left?
Reading is amazing. It doesn’t need to be dressed up, or hidden behind inane ideas that have been generated by some civil servant that has just left school, it simply needs to be brought up to speed. I love libraries, the reverence that’s present within them, the collections of books on display, the smell – but quite frankly they’re archaic.
A Change For The Better
All the libraries I’ve been to in the last five years look exactly the same as the libraries that I went to as a child. Not because they’re buildings with books in, but because they literally haven’t changed at all in thirty years. We’re talking about the same thirty years in which the rest of the media and entertainment industry has completely revolutionised.
Libraries are full of old people and toddlers, that’s it. The old people are dying out and the toddlers are growing up. What can we do? We have to update our libraries not detract from them with ridiculous pole-dancing sessions. I like libraries but if my local library started having pole-dancing sessions then I’d happily fire-bomb the place.
Coffeeshops are all the rage nowadays. I am a fan of such establishments. They have leather sofas, acoustic-folk played minimally in the background, some pictures of old Italian men playing dominos on the wall, and a barista that knows how to make a good cup of coffee. Is it so hard for someone in a position of power to put two and two together?
Surely libraries are crying out for the same type of environment to be introduced within their own decaying walls. Take out some crusty shelves and free up at least half of the floor space; put in a proper counter, coffee machine, sofas etc; sell quality cakes and drinks; build a modern environment that is conducive to reading. The onset of digital reading enables you to free up some of this floorspace, use eReaders within the library so that members can still read passages before deciding on whether to borrow a book or not.
Ultimately, bring it up to date and encourage reading again. Libraries used to be a place where you could escape to, a haven, where if you needed some peace and quiet to work on something then you could. Provide the modern tools that will encourage these fantastic buildings to be used once again. Computers that are connected to the Internet and easy to access, tablets, eReaders, but also the one thing that is missing in this brave new world of books – guidance. A chap, or chap-ess, that can help you with a book or subject you’re looking for.
Libraries are important places for the community and even society in general but in their present form they are merely a testament to a bygone era. Reading, learning, knowledge, inspiration, imagination, relaxation, shelter, comfort, guidance – a building that can offer all of these things is worth saving. Not by attracting some wannabe-stripper through the door but by encouraging readers instead.
Build it… and they will come.
What’s your experience with your local library?