A Writer Claimed No One Uses Libraries Anymore. Twitter Wasn't Having It.

"RT if you still go to libraries."

Twitter users came out in full force earlier this week to defend libraries after a writer suggested they were obsolete. Not only did they prove that people do, indeed, still visit their local stacks — they also demonstrated just how important libraries can be to a community.


It all started when How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell replied to a tweet from a user requesting she raise awareness about local libraries in England being under threat of closure. Cowell wondered, "How are children from low income families to become readers for pleasure?"

New York Observer columnist Andre Walker replied to Cowell by tweeting his belief that "nobody goes to libraries anymore," suggesting public libraries should be closed and their books given to schools. Walker, who is based in England, later specified that he was only referring to British libraries, adding, "I know nothing about American ones."

Plenty of people had something to say about Walker's claim. A tweet requesting users retweet if they "still go to libraries" has received 69,000 retweets and counting as of this writing, and others even offered photographic evidence.

Walker's suggestion that the only libraries in operation should be school libraries was also rebuked by a school librarian, who shared, "We don't want the public library's collection. It's for a broad audience. Ours is specialized."

When Walker then replied that school librarians are "too lazy to run a full service," another user added that the general public shouldn't be allowed into school libraries due to "child protection issues," and to provide a "quiet atmosphere" for students.

Then there were the users who listed all the many services libraries provide to the public beyond just free books. That includes events, access to newspapers and computers, and a safe place to learn or spend time for people with nowhere else to go. 

One teacher said she uses the library to meet with homeless students. Another user shared that "libraries saved me when I was homeless," as a place to escape the weather and look for jobs.

But no reply to Walker's tweet could quite compare to the one from a user known as "The Angriest Librarian," who launched into a passionate thread worthy of his name.

As the "Angriest Librarian" pointed out, the library is one of the few "free, public gathering spaces in America," providing not just books, but also internet access to underprivileged people, and safe spaces to learn English or about LGBTQ identity, among other benefits.

Read the entire thread, which has earned nearly 20,000 retweets, below. (Warning for some NSFW language.)

The response was so overwhelming that Walker actually issued a "surrender," admitting, "Your sheer numbers have proved the point that libraries aren't as unpopular as I believed this morning!"

The Angriest Librarian, meanwhile, was a little less angry. We'd call that a win.

Cover image via EvgeniiAnd / Shutterstock.

(H/T: Mashable)


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