Amidst the swarm of cuts heading this way, our libraries are under threat. Mind you, I would have to admit that it’s been a while since I visited the local library – I have the Internet now.
But like most people I can still recall many special moments. Like the time I happened across a very special book… But before that, we have to start with an advert.
Have you seen the recent TV commercial for YELL.com? It’s advertising an online Yellow Pages service. The commercial tells the story of a gloomy fellow who treks round a number of independent record shops to find a copy of the trance mix track ‘Pulse and Thunder’ by Day V Lately.
Eventually, his daughter tries the online service and finds a copy. He asks the record shop to put it aside for him. “My name?” he gives a little laugh. “It’s Day V Lately.”
Now, older readers will remember a similar commercial for Yellow Pages that ran in 1983. It had a lovely old gentleman trying to track down a book called “Fly Fishing” by JR Hartley. Wasn’t that a wonderful commercial? The old fella’s delight when a bookstore told them they had a copy in stock and he revealed that he was actually J R Hartley was a fabulous TV moment.
It was certainly a good deal better than the new advert with Day V Lately, I think you’ll agree. The new commercial isn’t a patch on the original.
So, what has this to do with libraries? Well – and I swear this is true – when browsing in the West Calder library one day I happened across a book entitled “Fly Fishing” by J R Hartley. Can you imagine my surprise and delight?
Ah, but such moments could be lost forever if we stand silently by and let politicians who didn’t understand basic financial budgeting try to recoup lost billions by cutting back the library service. If that happened, all we would have left is a shadow of the original – a book repository equivalent of Dave wotsisname.
And that’s not right.