In 2016 the BBC complied data from 207 authorities responsible for running libraries. Their analysis showed 207 libraries closed, 132 mobile services ended and home deliveries were culled too. Alarmingly a further 111 closures were also planned and 174 were moving from local authority responsibility to external organisations. These closures have a massive impact on the local community for several reasons; the loss of jobs, an increased demand on volunteer roles and the effect on the people who used the much-loved library service. But at a time when there are huge pressures on funding, this was probably always going to be an area that local authorities would have to consider making cut backs.
However, we should not underestimate the benefit of libraries and book services in the community, as reading plays such a positive part in everyday life, particularly for older people. There are science based reasons to read, these include; boosting brain power, aiding relaxation, helping you feel connected (to combat loneliness), plus it may also help fight brain disease including Alzheimer's. These benefits come not only from reading yourself but by reading together and being read to. As it comes more difficult to read it's a way of staying informed, provides a topic of converesation and it is entertaining.
Given the strong case for reading and the reduction of free local services we have launched our own in-house library. It is a simple idea, that is easy to implement with real benefits. If you would like to donate any books, or take advantage of this service, please get in touch and help us keep 'the library' accessible and relevant.