‘They are a focal point in communities’

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AT first you might think our good librarians have lost the 
 plot – or got their Burke and Hares mixed up.

Could they possibly have confused a dusty historical tome on the notorious 19th century killers with the West Port strip bar which bears their name? How else do you explain a pole dancing session in Mayfield 
Library?

We can all rest easy, though – the custodians of our books have not taken leave of their senses. The unlikely combination is just part of an imaginative campaign to promote local libraries, called Love Your Library Day. And the pole dancing involved is certainly not sleazy, it is just a fun way to keep fit.

People who have not set foot in one for years might easily dismiss them as unimportant.

But our libraries are increasingly a focal point in local communities. Not just places where you can borrow books, but somewhere to gain cheap access to the internet, find out about what is going on in your neighbourhood, or to take part in classes.

A lot of working people may never visit, but most libraries continue to be well-used and valued facilities, particularly for older people, children and parents, and students.

While libraries are closed down across England, ours continue to flourish. That is down to a continuing commitment from our local authorities and a willingness to adapt to what people want. Several Edinburgh libraries, for instance, recently changed their opening hours to reflect the growing demand for them at weekends, mainly from young families.

It is not so much gyrating dancers that might surprise anyone returning to the library for the first time in years, it is the way they have adapted successfully with the times.

Mass Higgs-teria

THE definition of celebrity has become somewhat stretched.

A dancing dog or an amusing YouTube clip may be all it takes today for someone to become propelled to national attention, while others producing truly important work may never be celebrated.

We’re glad to see that this is not the case for Sir Peter Higgs. We tell today how the unassuming man behind the God particle is now – after decades of living in relative 
obscurity – being stopped and asked for his autograph on the streets of Edinburgh.

While he has always been lauded by the scientific community, it is fantastic that the 83-year-old is also now being recognised by the wider public. And with name-checks on US sitcoms and beers named after him, the offers to appear on reality TV shows surely cannot be far away.