If ever there was a time that we wanted people to spend fewer hours in front of televisions and electronic devices, it’s now.
Wouldn’t it be terrific if more people were to wander into a library and remember the magic of books?
Some may forget what wonderful places they are – treasure troves of the unexpected – places of learning and whimsy for young minds and those stretching the decades.
Forget the broody, silent libraries of old. These days, they are places of colour and revelation expanding beyond bookshelves and books.
It beggars belief, then, that the City of Greater Geelong wants to close three libraries – Chilwell, Highton and Barwon Heads.
I appreciate they come at a cost – the Barwon Heads library creates a $57,000 a year bill.
Yet these seems almost irrelevant when the same organisation sees fit to build a $45 million library and history facility in Geelong. It is a marvellous thing – no doubt about it.
But should it come at the expense of smaller, localised and much-loved facilities in the extremities of the shire? They may not be flashy – but they do support learning, community connections and a service for those who perhaps cannot get to the Geelong HQ.
The Barwon Heads facility in particular is special due to its physical connection to the Barwon Heads Primary School which uses, and staffs, the library during school hours.
I am sure there is a simple solution to this problem.
It will involve talking, listening and understanding.
The Council is capable of all these things. It is capable of reversing its decision.