Libraries like Café’s? Uh, what?

Yes, I am getting on my soap box about libraries again but I feel the need to talk about it.

Wakefield One, Wakefield. Source: Wakefield First

I have been meaning to write about this since seeing a report in the Daily Mail (a UK daily newspaper) that talked about an independent report calling for libraries to become more like Costa Coffee shops. You can read the original report here. What has spurred me to finally write about it today (not least of all because I haven’t posted this week) is a quote MyLittleBookBlog posted yesterday:

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries”Anne Herbert

I have no doubt the authors of the report mean well and agree with Mr Sieghart when he says how important libraries are to those who are the poorest in our society. I also agree that Wi-Fi has to become a necessity for libraries to continue to survive and thrive (digital book lending on e readers anyone?), the need for comfy sofas and toilets as well as offering other services to make the library a community hub but the part that made go “uh, what?” is the suggestion that hot drinks should be offered in libraries. I think he has missed something very important in that regard. If libraries offer hot drinks along with everything else, doesn’t the library then become a café with books to browse and read?

There is a reason why there is a rule in most libraries that I have visited that no food or drink is allowed near the computers in the library at least: it’s called health and safety and making sure that other people don’t gag over horrible food smells! By all means offer food and drink but NOT in the library itself!

I am proud to say that most libraries in the Wakefield area offer comfortable areas to sit and read, toilets and programmes for the community as well as a place for the older members in the area to meet and talk to other people. Frequently, the library staff are the only people they talk to all week. In my mind, the libraries offer a great value for money service. A library building that offers everything that the report says need to be all libraries is the Wakefield One building in Wakefield however hot drinks and food are only available in Create Cafe downstairs and food and drink is not allowed near the computers.

So it is possible to cram all of what this report is saying libraries need to do but libraries like coffee shops? Uh, no. I doubt libraries are actually heading for disaster if they don’t incorporate all of this but let’s maybe have more like the libraries in the Wakefield area and Wakefield One but keep libraries and coffee shops as separate entities. Possibly the best compromise available.

P.S.: Find out more Wakefield Libraries and the latest news by visiting the Wakefield Libraries blog and check out Wakefield (and it’s library) during the Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival taking place Friday 20 to Sunday 22 February 2015.

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International Literacy Day-September 8th, 2014

Today is UNESCO International Literacy Day 2014, a day designed to champion literacy and how it can create sustainable development for the people of the world. More information can be found by going to UNESCO’s website.

If I had known about this before, I would have posted about it a few days ago however it must have been fate that I only found out today anyway as today is also the day that the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper, and BBC News are carrying reports that children and adults alike are struggling with their literacy and, in the adults case, numeracy.

The Daily Mail is reporting that the UK’s literacy levels are down and they are predicted to be even worse by 2025, particularly among white boys from poorer homes whilst BBC News says that adults are unable to gain the vital skills they need because they cannot access the training they need.

You can read these reports if you are interested by going to 1.5m Children “Won’t Read Well”- Daily MailHalf of poor white boys struggling to read at 11: Children more likely to read text messages than books, study finds – Daily Mail and Urgent Help Needed For Adults With Poor Skills, Say MPs – BBC News.

This seems crazy that children and adults are growing up and struggling with the very basic skills that will help them getting GCSE’s (the very basic level of qualification necessary for most jobs in the UK), holding down jobs, doing household bills and administration and so much more. The closure of our libraries certainly do not help as, for many families, this is probably the only place they would have access to books for free to read. We also have a state education system designed to give everyone the chance of getting the very basic skills in literacy and numeracy.

Therefore, I definitely support UNESCO’s International Literacy Day.

JK Rowling paid damages by Daily Mail

The UK newspaper, the Daily Mail, has been made to print an apology and pay “substantial” damages to JK Rowling, BBC News reports.

In September last year, the Daily Mail printed an article on suggesting that JK Rowling told a false “sob story” after being stigmatised by church goers when she was a single mother. The story was based on an article Rowling wrote for Gingerbread, a single parent charity. (You can read the original article here: http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/content/1901/J-K-Rowling).

Rowling sued the paper for libel, saying that the article was “misleading” and “unfair”, caused her great distress and embarrassment and had injured her reputation. In January, the Daily Mail admitted liability and promised to print an apology and pay damages. The BBC has said that all the damage money has been donated to charity by Rowling.

Read the full article by BBC News for further details at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27312080.

Jacqueline Wilson On The Transplant List

Jacqueline Wilson, the creator of Tracey Beaker, is on the transplant list awaiting new kidneys due to organ failure, according to a report on the Daily Mail’s website today.

She is having dialysis three times a week for four hours but says she is spending the time writing or thinking up new ideas. She has had people offering to give her their kidneys but no suitable matches have been found so far. Having already been fitted with a heart defibrillator, she also says that she is use to think it “boring” when people would say good health in answer to what they wished for but now respects that answer following her own health issues.

I wish her all the luck in the world and hope that she receives some kidneys from Santa this Christmas.

 

Is Britain the World’s Creative Capital?

Okay, I am now just starting to procrastinate enough to avoid working on my Word Count (wc) and yet not be distracted enough to forget it.

On LinkedIn, I have Sir Richard Branson on my Influencers list so I get articles from time to time from Virgin. Not written by him but still…

Anyway, today on my Updates Stream, I received this article: http://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/blog/is-britain-the-worlds-creative-capital. This is something I have considered true for many years and is part of the reason I went to university to do a Professional Writing degree. I have often seen articles on the BBC News website, the Daily Mail, the Guardian and various other news outlets saying and giving examples of how the British Creative and Media sectors are some of our biggest exports in the world. They are also arguably the toughest to get into and find consistent employment in.

I don’t really have much to say on this matter but I sincerely just wanted to share this article with you all.