Yes, of course they're worth saving but people really do need to take a very close look at what is happening in their region. Tonight on Look North they were interviewing people who live in Doncaster where at the moment there are 26 - yes 26 libraries! Google Doncaster, look at the size of the area and tell me why they NEED 26 libraries!!! The number is to be cut to 14, now that's a very realistic number, a SUSTAINABLE NUMBER. When i was young there wasn't a library closer than ten miles to my home but we had a weekly travelling library which was well used and greatly appreciated by all age groups. My children used our local library weekly when they were at school but not just for referencing or for borrowing books. They learned to play chess and lots of other board games there and met lots of their friends after school - it was a great social centre. York cut back on the number of libraries it was supporting some years ago because it had been recognised that some of the smaller ones weren't necessary and that the funding for them could be put to better use in the remaining ones. Hence we have just had the main library re-open after a major face-lift which means that those using it still have the reference area, the main lending areas and in addition they have an internet room, a cafe, a children's play space area with volunteers reading and a quiet room for those who remember the old days of HUSH! and appreciate it. I wouldn't use a library now for reference, the internet has far greater scope but it lacks one thing which many people appreciate - the company of other people. With the closure of our pubs and post offices we do have fewer and fewer social meeting places especially for elderly people and so it is vitally important that libraries are maintained but i certainly know of quite a few in North Yorkshire that could be closed and the villagers would be better off with the travelling library which has its' books changed weekly not annually like a small branch.
Harking back to a much simpler time, in the late 1950's to 60's we had three grocery shops, a cobblers, a service station with petrol pumps, a dressmaker, a post office, a local milkman, eight main street farms, three pubs, a social and sports club, two church's, a chapel, a school, a fish and chip shop and a medical practice with two full time Doctors who shared 24 hour call out duty and a veterinarian practice with four full time vets. Now that lovely little village has a shop/post office run by volunteers which also sells milk and a part-time doctors surgery. One church which has a vicar share with three other parishes. No farms, the land is owned by huge conglomerates who lease it to others. One pub and the travelling library. The village is about five times larger than when i lived there and now has a population of over one thousand people - all getting into their cars and paying to travel miles to get what they once had. This is progress? We cannot afford to allow communities to die. Remember the old adage - DIVIDE AND CONQUER ????