15 April 2005

Irelandclick.com

South Editorial

Taking the heart out of a community

The news that Belvoir Library is to fall under the axe of the South Eastern Library Board has rightly infuriated residents of the already under-resourced estate.

In this Playstation age parents and teachers struggle to lure children away from the front of a television and get them interested in using their imagination and extending their vocabulary through the world of books.

A library is more than just a place to pick up a holiday read. They also supply internet services that are widely used by children whose families find it impossible to keep up with the costs of modern technology that is not just required but expected in this modern age.

The money saved by shutting not just Belvoir but three other libraries including Dunmurry cannot compare to the massive negative effect that these closures will have on the communities that rely on them.

A library helps to shape a community from the pensioners who pop in several times a week for a chat and a book to help alleviate their loneliness to the avid young bookworm with a thirst for knowledge and the young student, struggling to achieve their full potential.

Books such as the Harry Potter series helped reintroduce our children and young people to the magical literary world. However just when we should be celebrating this revival instead the South Eastern Board are preparing to close the door in the faces of our children.

Building a community is no easy task in areas where resources have been stripped, anti-social behaviour soars, the elderly are left to fend for themselves, lonely and isolated. Only by saving our vital services can we begin to form friendships and a community spirit that ensures areas such as Belvoir, that have suffered from poor infrastructure for years, can claw their way back.

The accountants and number crunchers who are silently plotting to close our libraries need to get out of their ivory towers and visit the very places they are planning to close and see just what the effects of their decisions will have on future generations.

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