I read an amazing fact the other day. It said that £1,357 was the size of the pay rise needed to make the average person as happy as a regular visit to a library.
I can quite believe it.
I have always felt there to be something quite magical about libraries. From the excitement of reading about Topsy and Tim’s adventures at their local library – ‘the books may look higgeldy piggledy, but we do know where to find them!’ – to the joy of creating my very own library at home, libraries will always hold a special place in my heart.
I don’t remember much from my childhood, but one thing I do remember, way back when I was about six or seven and we lived in Weymouth, was driving over to Dorchester for a trip to the library. My sister and I would always choose our books quickly, and then get impatient as my mum browsed. I remember wandering through the rows and rows of shelves, finding her with a small pile already nestled in the crook of one arm, but with a look about her that said we’d be best off just finding somewhere comfy to sit for a little while.
When we finally got to the counter, the librarian would remove the cardboard tickets from inside the books and tuck them into our individual wallets, stored at the library in large card files so they would know exactly who had what.
Nowadays of course it all self scanners, but Belle gets as much of a kick out of placing her book into the machine and seeing the title pop up on screen as I did watching the librarian organising the cardboard tickets and stamping the dates into the front of our books. Over the years the library has been a salvation to me as a parent; somewhere soothing to go with a toddler on a rainy afternoon, a place to grab a handful of books for myself, a baby asleep in a pram, to help me feel more normal.
Libraries are being closed all over the country, but if we are all going to feel £1,357 worse off as a result, surely this is a massive false economy?
How much is a regular trip to the library worth to you?