Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming
It's important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members' interests, of a sort. So, I am going to be talking to you about reading. I'm going to tell you that libraries are important. I'm going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. And I am biased, obviously and enormously: I'm an author, often an author of fiction. So I'm biased as a writer. And I'm here giving this talk tonight, under the auspices of the Reading Agency: a charity whose mission is to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. And it's that change, and that act of reading that I'm here to talk about tonight. I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. It's not one to one: you can't say that a literate society has no criminality. It's tosh.