Recently petitions have been signed to stop the closure of Gants Hill Library - the library which I frequently visited as a child.

This caused me to reminisce on all the wonderful times that I have had in that library, and just how different of a person I would have been without the impact of the library and its resources for my younger self.

On account of this, I spoke to local resident and librarian, Fozia Jan, on just how the closure of libraries will affect future generations. She spoke to me about how the internet and social media is having a “negative impact on the amount of children coming to read as they would much rather just relax on Instagram”. We also discussed how without a proper place for teenagers to sit and do their homework, they may experience material deprivation (due to the lack of a quiet place to study) which could lead to students not doing as well in exams as the generations that came before them. We discussed how the closure of libraries is becoming a pressing concern for not only today’s society but also future generations to come. Mrs. Jan also stressed how important reading is for the young mind, talking about how it “expands their brain as well as their horizons”.

My discussion with Mrs. Jan lead me to believe that libraries play a fundamental role in many children’s lives as they allow people, from any background, to pick up a book to read in the comfort of their own home. This affects many children as they can escape into a world in which everything is so unlike reality. For example, when I first read Harry Potter (from my local library) it transported me into a world in which everything was magical, allowing an escape for me from my day to day routine. It allowed for my vivid imagination and gave me a chance to connect with the characters. Without the library, with its access to ‘free’ material and activity clubs (for instance, I know that Gants Hill Library organises a chess club), I would not have been able to experience this at such a great extent – nor would the thousands of children whose parents struggle to provide then with just the basic necessities.

I am going to leave you with this note, how different would your life have been if you weren’t able to visit the library as a child and have the satisfaction of curling up with a good book in hand? I for one know just how different I would be, I might not have even been writing this article today if it weren’t for the library which is being considered to get shut down.

Shanzay Yousaf