The Guardian

Public libraries are not just about books. At their heart, they are about social equity | Nicola Heath

Working in libraries I learned so much about the city I lived in. We lose nothing by making them a safe space for the community
‘When vast tracts of our towns and cities are controlled by commercial operators, a library offers a rare neutral space for people to meet’ Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Ten years ago, I worked for two municipal library services in Melbourne. When I applied for my first library job, I thought that libraries were just about borrowing books, but I quickly realised otherwise. The role of public libraries in our communities is not confined to books – at their heart, libraries are about social equity.

Having spent many slow afternoons with my kids in the children’s section when I was on maternity

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