As the World has just celebrated International Literacy Day for the 52nd year running, we thought it apt to celebrate the original haven of literacy… Libraries!

The World’s first known library was founded in the 7th century, B.C, and for the thousands of years that have followed, libraries have remained integral to societies all over the world. Along with being an educational hub, providing books and encouraging people to read more, libraries have been the beating heart of communities for many years.

In 1994, a manifesto was drawn up, outlining UNESCO’s belief in Public Libraries providing free education, culture and information for all. “The services of the public library are provided on the basis of equality of access for all, regardless of age, race, sex, religion, nationality, language or social status.”

Modern day libraries now host a variety of classes, workshops, family days and support groups, on top of their original purpose; making books accessible and fostering a love of literacy.

In our ever changing society, they have also had to be highly adaptable and keep up to date with the demands in technological advancements. Lots of libraries are now being transformed into “learning centres” or “technological hubs” and are at the forefront of nurturing IT skills.

Having a laptop, desktop or printer at home is not a feasible option for many people. Therefore, the modern library has become a place where people can access the technology they need, or even where they are first introduced to computers. As being computer literate has quickly become not just a desired skill, but a necessary one, public libraries have become essential in offering the wider community and older generations a connection to the modern way of life.

So, whilst the number of physical books being loaned may have gone down, the usage of public libraries has increased. With the added array of multi sensory books, audio books and downloadable articles, literacy is still very much the focus of all libraries. By being flexible, libraries have showed that they are still relevant and much needed in today’s society.

Why not pop down to your local library and see what events or classes they have on!