Friday, 25 February 2011

Save Killyleagh Library

[Edit: Thanks to Neal (below) for the following rather important corrections: it should be 'Barbara' and not 'Margaret' Tuchman, and the title of the book is The Guns of August]

New York-born Margaret Tuchman (1912-1989), whose 1962 classic about the first month of hostilities in World War 1, The Guns of War, won the Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction in that year, once said:

'Nothing sickens me more than the closed door of a library.'

Well, that was the issue this morning, when supporters of the Save Killyleagh Library campaign turned up outside the library for The Big Borrow, a symbolic mass-borrowing which drew the attention of camera crews from UTV and BBC and will hopefully turn out to be another step towards keeping those particular doors permanently open.

The next big event is the public consultation meeting in the town hall this coming Monday evening, when with any luck the hall will be bursting at the seams and the arguments for saving the library will be strenuously put: there are many of them, but for me the most compelling is the argument advanced for any public library - even in times of budgetary constraints, perhaps especially then, the public library stands as one of the last bastions of community. We should have more of them, not less, and they should be properly and imaginatively invested in as the public purse allows.

Speaking as a writer, the library in Killyleagh has been a godsend for background and research. Yes, there is a library in Downpatrick, but the extra seven miles, given that I have only one day a week available for writing, would often be a journey too far.

Will post more later.
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