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California has cut state funding to libraries. It’s an incredibly disheartening sign of the times. Libraries and other similar institutions are the unfortunate first victims of an economic downturn, despite the far too wise words of Eleanor Crumblehulme. She was absolutely right when she said that “Cutting libraries during a recession is like cutting hospitals in a plague.”

It’s come to my attention during my time as a library clerk that very few people realize the extent of the services that are offered, for free, by their public libraries. Yes, we have books. We’re so much more, though. Need information on homeschooling? We’v got that. Need help finding a job? We’ve got that. Tax info? Yup. Literacy? Why are you even asking if we offer that? Seriously. And that’s just within the Pikes Peak region. Imagine what the bigger libraries around the country are able to provide. We are the heart of learning, the core of self-improvement. If we can’t afford to spend money to buy new books (or if we’re stopping the heartless corporate machines that create mindless entertainment for the sake of money), where can we go? The library. If we want to see the latest DVD releases, but don’t want to spend the dollar for RedBox, where can we go? The library. Need a computer? Wi-fi? Learn a foreign language! Have someone proofread your résumé (help you spell résumé, or learn how to type é on your computer!). Need a study room? A conference room? We have those. Libraries provide resources to help the economy move again, and when the economy falters, we cut library funding. What the hell?

Do you want future generations to be able to read? Do you want them to understand what’s going on in the world around them? Do you want them to have access to important historical and cultural information so that they don’t make the same mistakes that we’ve made? I sure as hell do. Invest in America’s future. Invest in your local library.

 

4 Comments

  1. Very well said. I totally agree. A millage vote is coming up where I live for the local library. I’m voting for it!

  2. You get the library perspective, I get the public school perspective. If things keep going the way they are, we’re totally screwed. Not only will our kids not know how to read, they won’t know how to solve problems or deal with their own emotions, so we’ll have a country full of adult crybabies who sue each other over the slightest nonsense rather than taking any responsibility or putting any effort into anything. So yeah. Fear for the future.

    • Exactly. It’s terrifying to me, and right now, it seems like things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.


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