Libraries should be service for learning

Greenhill library
Greenhill library
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We are all aware that libraries are not just about the percentage footfall nor the percentage book loans, though some think that they are.

Libraries are for learners and many are physical landmarks where communities gather to use this universal service.

Rapid changes, such as current social trends and the digital revolution have enabled us to imaginatively develop new services and income streams.

These value-added experiences are, dare I say, more than just about books.

They continue to be learning-related, reshaping our services that not only include books (plus ebooks, audio, tapes, newspapers journals and so on), but also provide work pods, private study spaces, cinema screenings, evening performances, events, exhibitions, coffee and leisure seating areas, choir start- ups, craft fairs, children’s activities, home and summer school, support groups such as MIND, Activity Sheffield, the aged, the isolated and library links, the list is endless.

Of course, many of these have already been activated in our community libraries.

We are certainly not alone in Yorkshire, where pressures for financial reductions have to be made by a council.

Indeed, there are many initiatives that showcase successful community-run libraries throughout the country since 2012.

We have a window of opportunity that can embrace the changes we are facing now, and despite whatever negativity there is, we need to turn it around to support those who we have in mind – for a continuum of learning for all and those who need support in the community.

Jennie Hinton

Friend of Greenhill library