Thursday, January 08, 2009

Public libraries as “recession sanctuaries”

As someone with pessimistic tendencies, I do try to look for a bright side. In the case of the credit crunch and recession, it is more challenging. One interesting possibility may be public libraries.

I read on the Freakonomics website that there are signs of a startling revival in the fortunes of libraries in America. Libraries are becoming “recession sanctuaries”. Will we see the same here?

My understanding is that libraries in the UK have been showing a declining trend (in books at least) in recent times. (And tightening public finances will pose a threat to their survival in the near future.)

As public space promoting knowledge and understanding as well as building civil society, any revival of public libraries would be welcome good news.

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