Thursday, 16 December 2010

Invest in our libraries

Sir – It was heartening to read so many letters protesting the proposed closure of local libraries. We will indeed fight these plans, ‘every inch of the way’ (Letters, Oxford Mail & Times, December 9).

I can add only this to what has already been so eloquently said: if the council and the Government need to save money, then they need to keep the local libraries open.

The libraries are fundamental to our health. If we want to reduce social isolation, exclusion, bad parenting, obesity, depression and anxiety; if we want to raise standards in schools and colleges; if people are to get back to work; if we want the economy to grow; if we are to be engaged and well-informed citizens, we need to keep our libraries local, and we need to keep them open. If we want to cut costs in public health, in education, in tackling anti-social behaviour and crime, then we need to invest in our libraries.

We are deep in a recession; the public purse is shrinking. We cannot afford to close our libraries now.

Dr Tessa Roynon, Lecturer in English, St Peter’s College, Oxford

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