Tuesday, 9 February 2016

NATALIE: WHY LIBRARIES MATTER

Today, Tuesday 9th February, I'm at a Speak Up For Libraries event in parliament trying to get MPs to help us stop the closure of local libraries. What better day for my fab pal Natalie to give you her view of why we need libraries?


Natalie says:
My job title is 'Service Lead for Young People, Libraries, Learning and Arts' - and it's my job to make sure young people feel welcome, valued and have lots to inspire them in Worcestershire libraries! I co-ordinate young volunteers, run the young poet laureate competition and experiment with ideas like open mic nights. I'm also a Green Party activist and have just gone vegan after 30 years as a veggie... I can bake scrumptious vegan cakes! We share our home with two cats and two rescue guinea pigs. I've been doing this job for eight years - I love working with young people and this was a chance to start from scratch and work on ways to get young people involved in libraries. This matters to me because I believe that libraries change lives. For many, libraries are the only places in a community which are free, warm, welcoming and free of judgement. I feel passionately that we should do everything in our power to preserve, protect and invest in them!

I think libraries do need to change and develop in order to survive and thrive, but not at the expense of the traditional library services. We can offer story time, local history resources and research facilities, but we must also evolve and embrace digital technology, run community and family learning sessions, have author events and open mic nights. This makes sure libraries are vibrant... the beating heart of a community.

We try to be brave about trying new things - we find out what people would like and experiment! Young people told us they had nowhere to go to sing, play music, tell stories... so we extended opening hours at one library and began an open mic slot. We now have three regular open mic nights at different libraries across the region! We have a great partnership with a National Trust property, Croome Court, and have a mini festival there in the summer. We run a Teen Book Award too, which Cathy has won - we take a whole load of books to schools, libraries and youth groups and run a 'speed-dating' session where teens choose their favourites and then vote for an overall winner! There is a big celebration event with a guest author - last year Juno Dawson came, which was cool as 'Say Her Name' won!

Young people are increasingly using our libraries to relax in, volunteer in, learn new skills, grow in confidence and escape into the exciting worlds brought to them by books. I'm angry that so many libraries have been closed and scared that many more may follow. A library makes a huge difference to a community - it is filled with opportunities, adventures and brilliant staff. It can inspire, innovate, educate, nurture and plant the seed that grows into love of books and learning. Please, let's not sit by and allow our libraries to be destroyed.

Cathy says:
Natalie is pretty awesome... and so are libraries! If you want to make sure your library stays open, use it - that little piece of plastic really is a 'golden ticket' that can change your life. Do YOU use your local library? COMMENT BELOW and tell us more!

6 comments:

  1. I ALWAYS use my local library and I love it!! It's open to everyone and we can even play music (4 free!!) And we can also do some research!!

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  2. Awesome, there is not somebody like that for young people at my local library but there is cool young(ish) librarians who help find me books and chat to me and know me. I go to the local library a few times a week, today I was there on a comfy chair reading Fortune Cookie and I had 2 requests to collect :)
    Another good idea I saw for libraries is for librarians to wrap some books in brown paper for people to pick from like a lucky dip and it was called 'Go On A Blind Date with a Book ' , so you can't judge the book by it's cover and who knows, you might find a new book you love! :)
    PS Awesome hair Natalie

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  3. Libraries play such an important part in our communities; even now with the use of technology, many people still use them every day. There's something special about browsing the shelves looking for something new to read... Or in my case, I carefully choose about 25 books, then have to narrow the list down to my 15 book limit! (Which in my opinion is harsh and not enough!)
    But we should do whatever we can to keep libraries open (no matter the book limit) because just picking up a book can change a persons life, and we should never take that opportunity away from anyone.

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  4. My family and I are constantly going to the library. We love to go, and all adore to read. We will get massive amounts of books out at a time! I always feel like I am at home in our little library. It also has access to the internet and lots of other functions and workshops. Its such a great place, with such a warm feel like so many other libraries.

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  5. Libraries are so important in my life!!! I choose AT LEAST 10 books each time i go!!!
    If anyone took away libraries away from my life, it would be like taking water away from fish!!!!
    PS. Your hair is really cool, Natalie!

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    1. Whenever I walk into my local library, I feel as if I've walked into a world of bliss... The books! Without that library I would never have been inspired to start reading CC books. I spotted the beautiful cover of Cherry Crush first, sandwiched in with the other books. It's design grasped me, and ever since I finished reading it, Cathy Cassidy has been one of my favourite authors. It's basically computerized, because as soon as you walk in there's rows and rows of computers and iPads. Hopefully Cathy would one day visit it!

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