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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Wakefield Lit Fest

Wakefield Lit Festival takes place from 18th-30th September this year and features a talk by Ben Aaronovitch for the next Peter Grant book, Foxglove Summer, on 29th September!

Wakefield Libraries

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Just five weeks to go to the third annual Wakefield Lit Fest and it’s bigger and better than ever. Poet and writer Jackie Kay opens the festival and Simon Armitage, Ian Macmillan and Roger McGough are also appearing. Will Self is sure to be an interesting evening and Joanne Harris will be talking about her fantasy novel The Gospel of Loki. Ben Aaronovich’s PC Grant series has a lot of fans and Stuart Maconie will draw both music and book lovers.
The library has a full week of events. On Monday 22, author Stephen May will be talking about his novel ‘Wake Up Happy Every Day’. On Tuesday storyteller Christine McMahon will be leading an afternoon workshop for anyone interested in developing the skill of oral storytelling and in the evening telling stories inspired by the textile heritage of Yorkshire and Lancashire in ‘On Tenterhooks – folktales with occasional sheep…

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Make A Noise In Libraries Fortnight

Hurray for libraries for being inclusive of readers of all abilities!

Wakefield Libraries

WAKEFIELD LIBRARIES

Make A Noise In Libraries fortnight is an annual campaign to highlight the services available in libraries for blind and partially sighted people, to try to improve their access to books and information.

•We have a large range of books in large print and audio. All our libraries stock books in these formats and our free request service brings your choice to your library.
•We have a wide range of free Online services to access from home, including free talking books, language courses and magazines to download.
•Readers Groups meet throughout the District to chat about reading and audio books. Book titles are provided. Contact us if you would like to find out about the support we offer VIP groups.
•If you find it difficult to visit your local library, we can bring the library service to your home through our Home Library service. Our Mobile Library has regular stops…

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