With news of libraries closing all over Britain, it’s sparked debates over their relevance in this increasing technological age. One of the largest libraries in Essex is Colchester’s library boasting two floors, a study area, a computer suite, free WiFi and a whole host of other facilities, along with events open to the public. It’s impact on the local community is a huge one, people struggling with housing issues can come and use the facilities, it aids those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access computers and printing equipment and also help young parents socialise with others by hosting baby and toddler ‘rhyme time.’ 


I can, however, see the potential downfall of libraries if they do not keep up with the fast moving times, which is why it’s so great that Essex Libraries offer an app called ‘BorrowBox’ that has ebooks and audiobooks that you can loan just like you would with physical copies, helping not only the elderly who may find it hard to travel to libraries, but also connecting libraries with the younger generation.


I had a chance to talk to one of Colchester Library’s customers, Siena Gathercole, about why she thinks young people should visit their local library. She replied that “The internet frequently contains false or misleading information, whereas libraries contain a wide variety of books on a plethora of subjects which are free to take out for a number of weeks at a time. It’s a good alternative to bookstores because they’re [the bookstores] so expensive,” and she has a very valid point. It’s no secret that the cost of living has had a rapid increase and is the highest it’s been since 1992. As much as I love to support small independent book stores, I’m a student which means I don’t have the luxury of being able to constantly afford the expense of new books, especially with the rise in inflation. This is why libraries are such an asset to young people, especially Colchester Library which is situated near Colchester Sixth Form College, Colchester Institute and Essex University, providing free material for research, essays and revision. Over the summer, libraries accept volunteers for their annual summer reading challenge which I myself have previously taken part in both as a participant when I was younger and then later as a volunteer. It's an amazing thing to put on a CV when looking for a part-time job alongside school and on your personal statement, particularly if you’re looking to take a degree involving English.


I, for one, hope to see the continued use and appreciation of libraries in the local community.