There’s a question to ponder! The reason this question raises its head is because I sometimes question why I advocate libraries (I like to question my beliefs from time to time – believe it or not!). Not because I don’t believe in them (I do obviously….have you not read my blog before?!) but because I wonder about my motives in sharing my passion for them. Is it because I think I know what is best for individuals, or is it because I think that people don’t know enough about the service to make an informed judgement about whether it meets their needs?
I have a real aversion to the old fashioned Victorian idea of knowing what is best for them (although not in the same way as the modern Conservative party I hasten to add), and I am loath to let anyone think that I am sharing my belief in libraries because I think I know what is best for them. I think that not only is it patronising, but it is also highly likely to turn people off the very thing that I am advocating. So where does simply sharing the services on offer at public libraries with non-users end and patronising them begin? I’m not sure (perhaps I should though!?). But I do think a delicate line has to be trod between the two. Some people just simply aren’t interested in using libraries not matter what is on offer. Sometimes I guess you have to accept that (although it is hard) and not try to batter them into believing that using the library is ‘good for them’.