The Reading Agency, a British charity with a mission “to inspire more people to read more,” asked author Neil Gaiman to give their second annual lecture on the future of reading and libraries. Mr. Gaiman strongly believes that library closures are “like stopping the vaccination programmes,” and that
“libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.
I worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them. If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to miss the point fundamentally.”