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Let's make our libraries indispensable!
So – here’s part of the recipe. (I’m not claiming to have thought of everything.)
•Pack libraries with books.
•Open when people are around.
•Have fast internet connections and computer-literate people at hand to help.
•Bring in lots of tables and chairs.
•Open loos in libraries.
•Associate epub books and Kindle books with books in their traditional form so people can switch seamlessly between them.
•Provide comfortable places to sit and read.
•Install coffee and lunch shops. (Experience of libraries which have already done this shows how the atmosphere can be lifted.)
•Employ cheerful, friendly librarians – who are not only able to show you where books are but tell you what’s in them. My current expectation when I walk into a library is that the people behind the counter (note where they are!) will conform to old-fashioned stereotypes of defensive doctors’-receptionists – and their politeness is so, so . . . detached. They don’t seem to be enthusiasts!
•Abolish fines. Books will be handed back in the end. Some of us just like to hang on to them longer than others and stop borrowing when fines top the price of buying.