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Libraries, Dates and Shifting Sands

One of the challenges of the last few months, for a dedicated library user like myself, is the way the rules keep changing. The local public library was shut over lockdown and all return dates were shifted to early December. Earlier this week, it was back to a ‘book to visit’ system and, by today, it has taken another step back to ‘visit when you want but you may have to queue if we’re busy’.

They weren’t that busy and so I was able to return the batch of books that were all due back next Monday and pick up some more. For me, with internet access, it is pretty simple to log into my account and check the current rules. If I have books out, I have developed the habit of checking every couple of weeks to make sure I haven’t got a return date looming. Renewals can be done online and, if I see I’ve renewed something a couple of times and still haven’t really got into it, that will go on the pile to be returned as soon as possible.

I do spare a thought though for those who might rely on libraries for their internet access. This has been a year when libraries should have been seen as a vital support service for people needing access to information as well as just entertainment and edification and libraries should have been seen as key workers.

I hope local authorities up and down the country will be thinking on these same lines and looking at libraries not as places where the budgetary axe can fall but where they can invest to fulfil their mission to provide equitable access to their services for all.

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