Opinion: Libraries are open again for us all to enjoy

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As Scotland moves out of the majority of lockdown restrictions from August 9 the collective sigh of relief will, I’m sure, be almost palpable.

By then we will have spent nearly 17 months living under the strictest rules the majority of us will have known in our lifetime. All for a very good reason – to protect communities and to stop the NHS becoming overwhelmed – but the end to social distancing and other measures will be welcomed.

It will also be a time for people to resume as normal a life as possible.

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Although we are still being encouraged to work from home in the meantime and wear face masks in some settings, life is slowly getting back to some sort of normality.

Reading books is enjoyed by all agesReading books is enjoyed by all ages
Reading books is enjoyed by all ages

Everyone will have different things that they are glad to see have already returned or will be returning in the coming days.

If lockdown has done one thing it has made us appreciate the people and so many of the things we took for granted prior to March 2020.

We will all have our own personal choice, but for many it is seeing our libraries reopen.

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Mainly being confined to our homes felt strange for all of us, however, not to have the option to browse the library shelves and escape into the pages of books made it even more difficult.

Whatever your personal choice of reading matter, to no longer have the opportunity to select a book and read it at your leisure made the time spent in lockdown even more trying.

While supermarkets were open and offering a limited choice of paperbacks, then when some restrictions were eased and book stores reopened, we were able to buy books, but for many that financial outlay was beyond their means.

The value of books and readings was what prompted philanthropists, most notably Scot Andrew Carnegie, to offer grants to towns to establish libraries for the good of all in the communities.

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Since these libraries first opened in the late 19th century our libraries have changed dramatically.

They may no longer be the place where you are told to “wheesht” but they still remain a valuable resource for us all.

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