Guest Post: Public libraries are in danger

Today’s guest post is by our Country Coordinator for Greece, Afroditi Fragkou. Afroditi is sharing a topic very close to her heart, the troubled future for public libraries in Greece in light of their recent financial difficulties. Thank you to Afroditi for sharing this challenging period with us. If you have any questions or comments, please add them below or join the conversation on Twitter using #InterLibNet.

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to think of a subject that may interest you all, the members of ILN. All this time, one question has been bothering me. “Would we be librarians if there were no libraries?”

The difficult times that Greece goes through the past 3 years has turned this question into a substantial matter, since there have been rumors for closure and mergings of libraries. Nowadays, these rumors are more than ever a hot topic among librarians and library users, and this time, public libraries are the ones targeted.

So, this is the subject I decided to write about, because, to be honest, I cannot take my mind off it. Us, the librarians and library users of this country are determined to keep our libraries open. Now, that many of us lose their rights of having a house, a job and food everyday, we need to try and preserve our right to access information. The rights I refer to are constitutional and currently in danger. We need our libraries in order to find our way towards economic development. We need our libraries in order to learn. We need our libraries in order to be entertained. We’ve been deprived not only from luxuries but from anything related to our welfare, all because of the fierce economic crisis.

The Association of Greek Librarians and Information Scientists has started a campaign under the title “Libraries are… wherever you are” in order to support their petition to keep public libraries from closing. Us, the librarians, gather up in public places in order to have the citizens, who believe in the institution of public library, sign our petition. We’ll be out in the streets, at every square, every church, every cinema, wherever we may find people that care enough to sign. You may listen to an abstract of the radio show “Libraries on FM”, that refers to this campaign, on youtube (there are also subtitles in english).

I’m sorry if my text gets long, but I’m overwhelmed by the fact that libraries are targeted and I fear for their existence. As a library professional I need to make sure that our message gets out, to the whole world and I need to ask help from anyone that can offer it.

So, here and now, I invite you all to support our online petition, by signing and sharing it, and help us send a strong and vivid message to our government that libraries matter and they matter the most, to the people, the citizens of every country!

Afroditi Fragkou

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