I was disheartened to read today that one of the libraries in County Sligo is to close. Over the last year there have been temporary closures of the libraries due to staff holidays, lack of cover etc.
The libraries, in my opinion, are necessities. Not just for avid readers who can’t afford to buy as many books as they read. They are a place where people can come to relax, study, read a paper, research history or heritage. Regular storytelling sessions are held for families, there’s a friendly face and a welcoming smile.
There is free Internet access for members, subsidised lessons for people who might not know how to use a computer and so much more besides.
Regarding the Ballymote Library, it’s outrageous that it should even be considered as one of those to close. Whenever I go into it there is always something happening. Louise, who runs the library, is one of those very special people you find occasionally. She encourages various groups and classes. There are art exhibitions, crafting sessions, art workshops and the ever popular Rambling House, where people gather to play music, tell stories and socialise. Louise encouraged the Ballymote Community Youth Environmental Group and they went on to win a National ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Award. You see the library is about so much more than books, it’s about community.
I’m sure Sligo County Council can make cut backs in other areas and save our libraries. There is a petition running at the moment here, so if you feel as strongly as I do please sign.