Wednesday, July 14, 2010

PS - Save the Libraries!

Somehow Marilyn Johnson and I forgot to talk about library budget cuts!!! What kind of Outspoken Interviewer would I be if I didn't follow up about this important issue? A crappy interviewer, that's what! Marilyn was kind enough to take even more time to put together this "PS" guest post about saving the libraries. For me, this all started with a Fox affiliate in Chicago reporting that libraries are a suck on resources in the face of the Illinois budget crisis. You can read that article here.

"PS"


"Estella" and I were having such a good time chatting about cutting edge librarians and drive-through libraries that we forgot to discuss the current trend to lop 30% off library operating budgets. This is NOT where we the people should be saving tax dollars. Libraries are remarkably efficient ways to share resources, especially in these tough times. We all have to have access to computers and the internet if we want to compete in the world, and let's face it, not everybody can stroll into the Apple store and order up a nice, shiny Mac. And librarians help anyone and everyone, from experts and small business owners to the vast numbers of the technologically challenged. They've helped me as a researcher, a frustrated computer user, a harried mother, a baffled citizen…whatever my problem, they can find a resource to help solve it. At this point, with so many other cuts to government and education services, libraries and librarians have been handling the spillover problems (most recently, they helped everybody, especially senior citizens, figure out how to access tax forms online) -- I worry that the cuts to libraries will leave us all without a safety net, without human help in navigating the bureaucracy, and without computer access for a significant percentage of our citizens. I don't think we have any idea how much of a load libraries have been carrying, and I worry that we're going to find out the hard way. Just look at the small business owners they've been keeping afloat! Look at all the children they've been keeping off the streets!

I'm heartened by the number of people who have been speaking out for libraries. All these wonderful, activist websites,

The ALA's advocacy center grows every time I check it out. http://ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/frontline_advocacy/intro.cfm and their advocacy sheets have such gems as the fact that Americans spend more money on candy than they do on libraries. Put that on your teeshirt! I love seeing all the authors stand up for libraries: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/altaff/authors_for_libraries/readers-libraries.cfm. Novelist Karin Slaughter says, "Funding libraries should be our number one national priority." Strong words, but absolutely true. Libraries offer the solutions to so many of our problems! And somewhere, I hope a nifty cataloger is cataloging all the opinion pieces that have been pouring out trying to make the case that funding libraries is good for all of us. I wrote my own for the LA Times. Libraries are neat, and librarians are fun….but libraries are also the foundation of this democracy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

 
Images by Freepik