Supporting your Local Library and Independent Bookshops
Local libraries and small, independent bookshops play an important role in improving literacy and encouraging more children to read for pleasure. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on libraries which were already struggling from years of austerity, and the forced closures of libraries and bookshops which were considered ‘non-essential’ has caused further damage, with many having to close down completely as a result.
Libraries are essential community resources providing safe spaces, particularly for disadvantaged children and their families, to access books and learning resources, and to find support in their education and development.
There is an urgent need for an increase in government funding to help libraries stay afloat. Libraries require funding for their day-to-day running, including staffing costs, but also to be able to update and improve the variety of books they have available for people to take out.
Independent bookshops are not only dealing with months of lost earnings from the pandemic, but also struggling with high business rates and competition from online retail giants.
In a recent article written by crossbench peer Nick Clancarty, he raised the issue of crippling business rates for independent bookshops. He said it was “important that the current system of business rates is properly reviewed if this has the effect of a large Amazon warehouse paying lower rates than a high street bookseller”.
Both libraries and independent bookshops form an invaluable foundation within communities for giving children access to books and enabling them to nurture a love of reading. Though funding is a huge issue, you can do your bit to help support your local library and bookshops.
Use them or lose them! These resources don’t exist in a vacuum - they are there to be used and enjoyed. People within communities can support their local libraries and bookshops by visiting them, by using their services, and in the case of bookshops, by buying from them.
It is all too easy to go for the cheapest, most convenient option when looking to buy something, but if we want to protect our small, independent businesses from closure and help them thrive then we all have a duty to be more conscious in where, and how, we choose to spend our money. Make the choice to invest money back into your local community by buying local wherever you can and support your independent bookshop!
When was the last time you visited your local library? If you are lucky enough to still have one, why not visit it and take out some books for yourself or your children to enjoy? Many libraries hold community events, such as author visits and groups for parents and children, so explore what your local library has on offer and take advantage of it!
Green Bean Studios regularly hosts community events, such as Meet the Author and Live Interactive Storytime Sessions, in libraries within Manchester and across the UK – be sure to stay tuned for updates on upcoming events via our social media channels and events page on our website.
Look out for Melissa's latest articles on Anita Frost's author website, where she'll talk about topics including business and publishing, author news and events, and giving back to communities. You can find her in-depth monthly feature on the News & Media page of the Green Bean Collection website, discussing children's books and reading, early years education, living a greener lifestyle and all things Green Bean!
Melissa Brannlund is the features writer and editor, for author Anita Frost.
Look out for Melissa's latest articles on Anita Frost's author website, where she'll talk about topics including: Business| TV | Music | Publishing, along with author news and events, and giving back to communities.
You can find her in-depth monthly feature on the News & Media page of the Green Bean Collection website, discussing children's books, reading, and all things Green Bean!
For more information or PR queries, please contact Melissa by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.