When I first heard about the recent comments made by Terry Deary, the author of Horrible Histories, I honestly thought it was satire. Nope. Turns out that this popular children’s author really doesn’t appear to understand what libraries are for. His statements weren’t satirical. They were criminally neglectful. He says that libraries are no longer relevant. He thinks that libraries are the reason book stores are closing and he isn’t earning what he feels entitled to.
There are so many wrongheaded opinions in the Guardian article that you almost don’t know where to start. You could list rebuttals all night. Libraries are still completely relevant. Libraries are where children learn to love books and later become buying customers of his. Not everyone can afford to buy books – and denying access to culture and knowledge to those less well off is just wrong. Libraries offer free social services and act as a community hub for elderly, disabled and unemployed people. Students need free acess to reference materials (some text books cost hundreds of pounds). Small business owners might need to research trade publications that they can’t afford to subscribe to. All this and more is available for free at your local library and that’s the civilised way to go about things.
I was left almost gasping for breath at the sheer ignorance of Terry’s statements and would probably have written a rant to argue him point by point, had I not already written a piece for Public Libraries News about my local library which clearly illustrates what modern libraries are all about.
Let’s end this on the over-used but necessary quote: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Please support your local library and challenge those who would spout arrogant nonsense about this vital service. You don’t want to live in a world where everything is commercial.