Intl World Book Day: Without libraries we are less human and more profoundly alone

Councils threaten libraries with closure and then rely on volunteers to keep them open. But professional librarians are the key to a healthy library

When I was little I loved everything about public libraries. The echoey floor, the ever so faintly dusty air, the ritual and rhythm of book stamping. We had plenty of books at home, but home books all came to me through my parents. They were already chosen, domesticated. Library books felt different, wild as tigers. They came to me straight from the world. When I walked into the library I felt I was walking across the tundra or the steppe, into the jungle or under the sea. I could roam the shelves, choose whatever I wanted, and find out about anything. I could live inside any story. It made me feel powerful and free.

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