It’s clear that no one supports the library cuts, yet it is time for change.
We believe that helping people read extensively and deeply, together, should be the primary mission of a public library service, and want to see the creation of New Reader Libraries, with people and reading at the heart of them.
New Reader Libraries will reignite a love of literature and bring people together to share it. Reading and people, people and reading. More focus on this, less on the bricks and mortar. Librarians will become people who go and find others and get them into reading, wherever those members of the public are: care homes, work places, youth clubs, shopping centres, probation offices.
Reduced budgets may mean that fewer libraries are inevitable. But if the service can reach more people and switch them on to reading, literacy, learning and a fuller life, local authorities will have ultimately won a bigger prize.
This is what we’ve been doing through Get Into Reading, a shared reading model that develops people’s emotional apparatus to improve their personal happiness and social functioning: improved self-confidence, less visits to the doctor and a sense of connection with the wider world, and the inner one too.
Adapting a proven methodology of shared reading, the focus of New Reader Libraries is on reader development, effective ways to reach and engage new (and often marginalised) audiences, and the design of community libraries. New Reader Libraries can inspire a love of reading, whilst also working as social glue and acting as a gateway to other services, especially for those most in need.
New Reader Libraries can stoke a reading revolution that has the power to change the nation.