"If a person could not walk from Headington or Cowley to the Central Library to get a book, he did not deserve one" (reported remark of committee member, early 1930s, on the proposal to open branch libraries in Oxford, quoted at http://www.headington.org.uk/library/index.htm).
At least we can now get a bus. But what's happening at so many levels feels like a wilful return to the values of the 1930s, including major cuts in universities as well as libraries. As current policies aim to turn higher education more and more into narrowly vocational courses, it's especially important to encourage the grass roots of the best education in the kind of serendipitous browsing and independent reading that libraries make possible. And we are so fortunate to have a library in a settting that makes visiting it such a natural part of family activities.
David Norbrook, English Faculty, Oxford University