I love the libraries. And it's a ridiculous notion that the internet is a substitute for the information contained within. It also is the internet for people who can't afford it on their own.
Libraries, absolutely; The most important thing my city did in the last decade was build a new library and then supply it with literary, audio, video, and computer content. The parking lot is always full, there are always (nice and short) lines at the check-out, and the state, Massachusetts, also provides an excellent online resource. It was one of the best uses of public money and the library is always filled with people. I am more than happy to see my local and state taxes used for just this purpose.
A few years back I saw an interview with economist Ken Rogoff where he (typically) saw a huge opportunity for the privatization of the public sphere in the case of library privatization. I wanted to reach into the television screen and choke him. Let's shrink these assholes to the point they can drown in a bathtub.
A few years ago I joined the library board for my small Ohio county. I knew how important I thought libraries were and I knew how important they had always been to me ... but it is through this volunteer job that I've learned how truly important a library is to everyone else.
In our area, we have a large Amish population. It isn't uncommon to see an Amish family show up at the library and leave with 40-50 books and magazines. Every month I hear great stories about how someone needed help navigating a job application website or wanted to know where to find information on their family history or even how to learn to knit (because a first grandchild is on the way and every kid deserves a baby blanket!).
In our area, plenty of levies got turned down over the last couple years, but we put a new levy on the ballot when the state cut our funding heavily ... and it passed with a very comfortable margin. Sure, we have a few people that say libraries are out-moded or that libraries should stick with books and not embrace new technologies (Kindles and movies on DVD/Blu-ray usually get specific callouts by these folks). But most of our voters seemed to think the libraries were valuable enough to fund even when their own funds were tight.
It makes me proud that I get to say I had something to do with it when someone says they took their kids to storytime or stopped by the library and picked up a book or two to get through some cold winter nights.
Libraries are important to Americans ... and important to America.
The local library is really the heart of our community. The suburban one closest to me is clearly a place with books, computers, and audio visual materials, but also functions as a center for civic activity. The front steps of the library house the farmers market and concerts in warmer months. In colder months it is just a nice place to meet people. The main library branch downtown hosts a wide array of classes from G.E.D. prep to E.S.L.. It also features a public 3-d printer and some fantastic architecture. I can't imagine a faster way to impoverish the lives of people than cutting the libraries.
It is really a simple question. Ask families - well-off or not -- if they benefit from their local library. Ask a senior citizen...especially one who's not "wired" at home...if they think libraries are fundamental to their communities. Ask little kids what they think. Ask anyone who likes to read -- traditional books or ebooks -- how the library serves them. Ask anyone who simply likes to browse the stacks on a lazy saturday afternoon. Ask the guy who needs specific reference material for research...or just how to get the information he needs to handle a tricky tax issue.
It's all about information, access, and community. The libraries...like public schools...are a foundational element to our personal lives and our civic lives. In the US, Canada and most everywhere else in the so-called free-world, it's all about basic democracy and quality of life,
Those who want to do away with them on cost are either villians, idiots, or elitist a-holes. Everyone sees it.
I love that the librarian is named Eleanor Crumblehulme. It's like her name sealed her destiny to be the nation's most outspoken librarian. Mentally, I'm picturing the woman from Ghostbusters.
I want to print this poster and put it everywhere.
Thanks for posting this, Cory. Those numbers are striking. Since the purpose of a library is to educate and inform, it's really no wonder conservatives are after them. I've loved libraries since I was a kid, and I bring my son to the local satellite library often. A simple but wonderful place.
This has to be sarcasm or you really don't utilize the library. You can get materials from better stocked libraries within the system, all you have to do is ask to have it reserved. I'd rather taxes go to libraries than to some development with questionable return, whereby the insider gets breaks and delays on paying taxes for his/her own enrichment.
Worth noting: The number of people who said a library closing would affect their community is much higher than the number of people who said it would affect them personally.
This would imply that even the people who don't actually use the library still value it- Which is a rare thought for the realm of public institutions.
I'd rather live in an area where the library is the heart of the community than the high school football team.
Unless of course, you're in the Parks and Rec. Dept.
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