1. I am a member of Hampshire Libraries - this means I can borrow up to 30 items, from most libraries across Hampshire and can return items to my nearest library. The convenience and flexibility is superb.
2. All of my local libraries are open late on at least one evening per week, sometimes two, which allows me to browse for books when the bookstores have closed!
3. I have never experienced anything other than enthusiastic assistance from the workers in the Hampshire libraries I've been to. They actively want to help, to bring in new books, to discuss books that they have loved.
4. One of my favourite activities has been taking my two nephews to the library. The youngest - aged four - loves the library, adores being read to, and is taken weekly. The eldest doesn't want to spend his pocket money on books, but still wants to read, and the library encourages him to do so.
5. I have been rampantly using my library in an effort to stem the flow of books coming into my house permanently. I take out books that I wouldn't necessarily want to buy, but would like to try. New books - recently released - are all over the shelves. I've seen Angry Robot, Solaris, Gollancz, Orbit, Voyager, Black Library all represented on the shelves in spades.
6. The Waterlooville library has recently been refurbished, with £100,000 of new stock ordered in - it looks glorious, with wooden floors, break out areas and a coffee machine. You are able to return, renew and check out books on self-service machines. It is a marvel and a place I enjoy to spend time. The Fareham library is a sprawling ground floor of plentiful shelves, with hundreds of surprises on the shelves, including the Horus Heresy Collected Visions, and novels by some of my favourite authors who have moved to small press, such as Helen Hollick.
7. As a young girl, my reading habit was fed ONLY by my local library in Fareham. I went every Saturday without fail, early, and would take out between four and eight books with the expectation of reading them all before going back the following Saturday.
8. Through my local library I discovered the following authors: David Eddings (The Belgariad), David Gemmell (Knights of Dark Renown), Sharon Shinn (Archangel), Charles de Lint (The Little Country). These are still four of my most beloved authors today.
9. I like to think of youngsters nowadays going in and discovering authors like Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Kate Griffin, Graham McNeill.
10. We simply CAN'T lose our libraries. They represent so much to those who use them: sharing a love of literature, discovering new reads, being able to borrow favourite books rather than buy. They are the cheapest form of entertainment I know, staffed by wonderful people who want to help. Libraries are the past and have to be the future as well.