By Jaime Janer, from L@ S@l@m@ndr@ de Jaime Janer.
Public libraries are like temples where many children discover and fall in love with books. Thanks to them, when they grow up they'll love reading for the rest of their lives.
A library means an organizational structure which, through technically appropriate processes and services, aims to provide access to documents that have been published or disseminated, to ensure that people have access to culture, information and knowledge.
Fortunately, the public authorities will guarantee that citizens have access to libraries in order to promote the dissemination of ideas and culture, thus helping to convert information into knowledge and cultural development and research. Furthermore, libraries will help to ensure the dissemination of information technologies.
What do libraries offer us?
- Individual freedom and access to information.
- Equality so that all users can access the materials, facilities and services of the library, without discrimination on the grounds of national origin, ethnicity, religion, ideology, gender or sexual orientation, age, disability, financial resources or any other personal or social circumstances.
- Plurality, for which purpose the widest possible variety of documents that reflect the diversity of society and its linguistic wealth must be acquired, preserved and made accessible.
- Respect for each user's right to privacy and the confidentiality of the information that they search for and receive and any resources that they might consult, borrow, acquire or transfer, protecting their personal data as required by law.
Libraries should know the publishers’ lists of titles and use them to request commercial and promotional activities from the publishers. Publishers should not sell directly to libraries; I believe that this should be the work of booksellers and that the value chain has to be respected. But I do think that publishers should collaborate with libraries in as many activities as possible. Many librarians understand this idea; they are aware of it and become active promoters of culture.
Public institutions such as libraries have the objective of trying to raise the cultural level of society. Publishers are obliged to work in synergy with libraries and launch campaigns to promote reading. The government’s duty is to raise the level of culture and increase reading in the country, something essential for the development of any community, and governments should support the book industry through measures ranging from controlled and appropriate subsidies to favorable tax regimes for the entire book industry, whether it is print or digital.
Libraries should be temples for the love of reading and that is our obligation; the government and the entire publishing value chain have to get involved to help ensure that children fall in love with books.
Images by Rosalind Beardshaw and (1)