It’s Libraries Week (October 7-12) and if you’re not already a passionate devotee to your local library, now is the perfect time to become one.
According to The Reading Agency, there are 3,618 public libraries in the UK, hosting over 233 million visits per year. 72% of people in England think that libraries are an essential or very important service to the community, and Arts Council research has shown that library use is positively associated with subjective wellbeing- in fact, library users appear to have higher life satisfaction, and a stronger sense of purpose in life.
Here are our five tips on ways to support your local library.
1. Get a library card
This one is an absolute no-brainer. You get free books, what more can we say? Many library cards also offer access to eBooks, community events, discounts to local attractions and use of your library’s computers. Plus, all of these things will contribute to improving your library’s stats for the year and helps provide them with the funding and resources they need to stay afloat. Use it or lose it, friends!
2. Go to an event
Libraries across the country are putting on marvellous literary events, and many of them are free. Whether it’s a local art exhibition, an intimate event with an author or a children’s storytime session, libraries provide a unique space for the local community to come together and share their stories and experiences.
3. Follow your local library on social media
This is the easiest of them all, and you can do it right now! By following your library’s social channels or joining their newsletter, you’re signing up to find out about what they’ve got going on, plus you’re boosting their visibility and helping to tempt others through their doors.
4. Join a book group
Tea, cake and lively literary discussion – what’s not to love about a reading group? Your local library probably plays host to several groups, so whether you love a crime thriller or the latest non-fiction tome, you’ll find a like-minded club. The Reading Agency has the largest database of these book clubs across the UK, so find one near you and expand your reading horizons now.
5. Become a volunteer
If you’re a true library junkie, show your local how much you care by donating a bit of your time every week to helping them out. Public libraries across the UK are staffed by around 15,000 brilliant specialist librarians, and over 51,000 volunteers, so the contribution voluntary workers make is vital – just go and speak to your local library to see how you can support them. You’ll get first dibs on the books, plus, you’ll be helping to improve literacy, reduce isolation and build stronger communities – win, win.
A world without libraries would be a bleak one, so get out there this week, (and every week), and show your local library the support it deserves.