“Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve.”
Our recent project for the Arts Council about libraries got us thinking about the role books play in our lives. Bobby Seagull, that brilliant young maths teacher who reached the final of University Challenge some years ago, appeared in our film to chat about how he began avidly absorbing his knowledge of the world from books in East Ham Library as a child.
Books really do unlock new worlds, cultures, perspectives and reveal different ways of thinking about life. In a world of misinformation and post-truth, they offer well-researched, verified goldmines of information. They have the potential to interrogate established ways of thinking and propose alternative ones.
They provide connections with other human minds and help make sense of the messy world we live in. As human beings, we harbour innate desires to tell stories, narrativise, embellish… and entertain those around us – this desire lies at the basis of the formation of human cultures and cultural identities. Books are testament to how extraordinary our species really is.
We loved touring round the exceptional public libraries of the UK to make this film – from following a mobile library around rural Cornwall to stepping into an oasis of calm on a floating boat library devised by an artist in Coventry – it really gave us a newfound appreciation for the vital role books play in people’s lives.
We hope our libraries film will also make people pause and appreciate these incredible spaces of connection and imagination, and cherish the books and writings that lie within them.