Letter: Making the most of our libraries

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his piece on public libraries, Thomas Sutcliffe has again hit the spot (Tabloid, 24 April). As an academic librarian and husband of a thriller novelist (Lindsay Townsend) I may be a touch biased, but isn't it a little strange that a nationwide system of information and entertainment with 30 million registered users should be made to feel unwanted?

The ability to try out a wide range of books without having to pay cash up front is for more than half the population a major contribution to education and leisure. What is more, the tastes formed by borrowing from libraries frequently develop into cash sales at bookshops. Public libraries are a national asset and a cultural stimulus, so let's start treating them - and funding them - as such.

ALAN QUICKE

Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

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