Do they spark joy? Yes. So let's cherish them.
If I were to go out onto the streets today and ask passers-by where they go for support and information on their health I'm sure I'd get many of the same answers: the GP, the walk in centre, the infamous Dr Google. They might not, however, say the library; they are not, for many people, synonymous with health and wellbeing, but they should be.
'End this school library lottery that limits many children’s life chances.'
Children’s laureate Chris Riddell, has been praised for calling on the government to investigate the closure of school libraries
Books are a critical tool in the fight for development across Africa as they are a tool for giving disadvantaged children here in the UK a leg up, but their practical value does not diminish their almost magical power to transport us to another place and the joy they provide.
I'd be quite lost without such distraction offered by the world outside or life online. Those daily chance encounters and random diversions often offer a route out of trouble when a story hits a dead end.
Only a few books to go and then so will I. It's been a long journey to a virtual chapel complete with stained glass windows, weeding and shelving rare books in a reading room not twenty miles from the special collection where I first learnt the library trade nearly twenty-five years ago.
The best way to learn about the wide range of books available in the market and get to know the taste of our little ones is to visit a public library with them and let them explore. Let them discover. Let them show you what they like and what they don't really like. They might surprise you at times!
Each year we send up to one million brand new, carefully selected books to libraries in Africa because we believe that books can change lives. What we want to do is to give people the opportunities that books can bring.
It's not going to be a huge surprise to many people that traditional council library services are in dire straits. As funding has been squeezed, services like children's and adults' social care are naturally being prioritised over non-essential services.