‘What Are Libraries For?’ Roundup

On Tuesday 20 February, the Centre for Material Texts hosted our first major debate, ‘What Are Libraries For?’. Speakers Dr Suzanne Paul (Keeper of Manuscripts, Cambridge University Library), Philip Kent (Director of Libraries, University of Bristol) and Mimi Thebo (author and Reader in Creative Writing at University of Bristol) discussed what libraries mean to them, before opening the debate to the public audience.

Suzanne Paul began by talking about the importance of making materials accessible, and the effects libraries had on her own life.

Next, Philip Kent set out his vision for libraries.

Mimi Thebo then made a powerful economic case for libraries.

We then opened the debate to the floor.

Our chair for the evening, Professor Keri Facer, asked which physical books deserved a place in the library.

A key point that came out of the discussion is that skilled librarians make a library.

Another important area of discussion was how the university library can work with and support both school libraries and public libraries.

For our postgraduate member Marta, this was the take-home message.

After the event, responses came through Twitter, confirming the arguments made during the debate, and encouraging people to fight against library closures.



About Katie Brown

Katie Brown is a Teaching Fellow in Hispanic Studies at University of Bristol, book-lover and translator.
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