It is a good thing that Jeremy Corbyn has recently leant his support to the libraries, museums and galleries protest due to take place in November. His entire fan base is comprised of online trolls and professional protesters, so he could bring some useful clout to an important issue.
Unfortunately for JC, he may well be onto a lost cause…
Almost 350 libraries have closed in the last decade, with those that are still open becoming increasingly reliant on volunteers and attempting to lure visitors by offering coffee mornings and play sessions for squawking children—hardly appropriate.
As a committed autodidact and someone who believes in education for education’s sake, I understand the importance of having free and inclusive resources for all. Unfortunately, the ever eroding standards of culture and education in this country mean that a successful protest—if there is such a thing— may simply lead to a country full of well-funded, but empty libraries.
Education standards have been continually lowered so that students from ‘underprivileged’ backgrounds can attend any course they choose, regardless of whether or not they have a strong intellectual foundation. Quotas have meant that someone’s background can be a passport to employment or further education, irrespective of their ability. Yes, gone are the days when reading to improve one’s knowledge was a necessary step towards success.
Regarding culture: as previously mentioned, we live in an age of instant gratification. Joe Public does not want to invest time learning to appreciate the finer things in life, when he can sit at home watching Jeremy Kyle or Big Brother. Perhaps if all libraries rebranded as Mills and Boon rental outlets, they may have some success, but I would hope that any self-respecting librarians would rather just close up shop.
So before pumping money into libraries and cultural venues, perhaps the government would start chastising the booze guzzling benefits scroungers for what they are, restore entry standards of universities to encourage intellectual endeavour, and convince the beeb to provide a counter culture to the mindless drivel currently on our screens.
Perhaps then our society will evolve into one that requires more libraries to meet the thirst for knowledge….