Author Neil Gaiman recently gave a speech for UK-based charity Reading Agency on why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming. Printed in Theguardian.com, it’s worth a read, touching on the links between pleasure reading and both empathy and innovation, as well as the future of books, the importance of libraries in particular, and the responsibilities we all have to create a society that values ideas, imagination, learning and discovery:
We have an obligation to support libraries. To use libraries, to encourage others to use libraries, to protest the closure of libraries. If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future.
We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves. Use reading-aloud time as bonding time, as time when no phones are being checked, when the distractions of the world are put aside.