“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”
The immortal words of Joni Mitchell say a lot about the current appreciation for a much loved institution all over the world, generated by the closure, threatened closure or scaling down of hundreds of libraries. And so it should be. Libraries are relevant and fabulous – as you, our readers, know! We should all be celebrating them, show our support for them and protest against their passing using whatever media.
A short film to look out for – upcoming release 2015 – is Jason LaMotte’s ‘The Library’. It is a story about first love and the sadness that surrounds dementia but the library – backdrop to the story – is just as important an element of the film as the main characters and plot. Sadly, due to technical reasons, and although Jason loved the space, this film could not be shot at Westminster Reference Library (they went for Tonbridge School in Kent). There is also ‘Spine’, playwright’s Clara Brennan take on, among other things, library closures. A powerful one-woman piece that premiered at the Edinburgh Festival this year.
And then there are brilliant initiatives such as the GuardianWitness’ Love Letters to Libraries which took off big time this week. Here, people share tributes to their favourite place of study, research, entertainment, leisure and rest.
Westminster Reference Library regularly pops up in blogs and tweets, such as this excellent recent entry from deskoverlondon, delighted at having found a quiet study place in the madness of the West End, but thanks to ‘Love Letters…’ the library has also got a couple of VIP mentions highlighting its art initiatives as well as praising the services provided.
Mayfair Library is another much-loved Westminster library which has received a Love Letter in the form of ‘I am a Mayfair Elephant’, but is your own favourite library missing? Perhaps your career turned on some information imparted at Marylebone Library? Your children cultivated a a love of reading at Paddington Children’s Library? Or the events at Westminster Music Library gave you a reason to learn an instrument?
There’s still a few days to contribute your own love letter to the site – we’d love to see it.