Guardian pines over loss of 500 UK libraries

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Between the lines: a reader at the British Museum library in 1952 Photograph: Bert Hardy/Getty

As local authority budgets are reduced by the government’s cuts in Britain, up to 500 libraries around the country will have to close. With the axe about to fall, Bella Bathurst reveals just what is about to be lost. Books not antidepressants, the erotic charge of bookmobiles, and a resident book-eater are discussed.

The libraries’ most powerful asset is the conversation they provide – between books and readers, between children and parents, between individuals and the collective world. Take them away and those voices turn inwards or vanish. Turns out that libraries have nothing at all to do with silence.

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