Libraries are a vital place of sanctuary and joy for new mothers

My heart sank when I read the recent 2018 UK library survey. Almost 130 public libraries have closed in the last year in Britain. Spending on libraries fell by £30 million (S$52 million) in 2017-2018 and 712 full-time staff were let go. A couple of years ago, I would have simply felt sad that these - in Robert Macfarlane's words - "magic portals into learning and dreaming" had closed, but since my daughter was born in 2016 and I started using my local library in a different way, I also see the cuts to libraries as symptomatic of our society's failure to give new parents the support they need.

My local library became a place of sanctuary for me. It was a warm, bright, welcoming place with people and comfy chairs and space to feed, or sit, wolf down a chocolate bar, and then, later, to watch her crawl and walk and discover.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 23, 2018, with the headline 'Libraries are a vital place of sanctuary and joy for new mothers'. Print Edition | Subscribe