Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cutting Libraries...

Recently on my SCBWI-Carolinas listserv, some members have been discussing the budget cuts local libraries are going through. I know that there have been many movements and discussions on the same topic on Twitter over the past few months.

And it worries me.

From what I can see, the vast majority of these budget cuts are a reflection of the recession. But when a recession hits a country, libraries are one of the most needed resources for those laid off, struggling through school, and who need access to information now outside their own financial means.


As BoingBoing put it:


One of the listserv members also pointed me in the direction of this interesting link, where Google Maps is used to show a nation without school libraries. This seems, to me, to be a blatent disregard for the importance of books to students. As the description lists it:
Although hundreds of studies show the impact that School Librarians have on student achievement, these school districts believe otherwise. 

One of the Anonymous Commenters on BoingBoing said it the best:
This reminds me of a sign in my childhood public library: "Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries."

15 comments:

Jen said...

I don't even like seeing cut and libraries in the same sentence. Libraries are wonderful places to relax and read a book, dive into another world for an afternoon of utter bliss, and we are continuing budget cuts! What can we do to stop this?!

Donate more books?

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Great post - libraries are so important, they really shape children's lives, or at least their minds. And adults, too - I can't possibly afford all the books I want to read! I hope this trend ends soon - our country needs libraries, or at the very least, I do. :(

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Fortunately that isn't a problem where I live. They're building more libraries to keep up with the growing city. So far, the only real causality is the hours of opening. From now till September, the library is closed on Sundays. Doesn't make sense, but it's always been that way. But it was a choice between that or fewer books and libraries.

Candyland said...

Whoa! No libraries??? What about those of us that can't afford to buy all of our books? *sigh* It's always something.

Vicki Rocho said...

I used to live in the library at school! I was the librarian's helper and I would go every day to help her reshelve books or help the kindergartners sign their names on the check out slip (ahhhh, before the computer systems took over)

MeganRebekah said...

Schools and libraries and such should always be a budget priority. I read an article this morning about a charity trying to get a million dollar grant to restore an old castle. Now, I love history and would love to have our history preserved, but I can't help but think that the million dollars could be used for schools and libraries.
Great post as always!

salarsenッ said...

This is so painful to read. As a society, our priorities need to be reevaluated. (Like you all don't know that.) But seriously, Beth you make an amazing point. I participated in the blog tour for national libraries in April. I interviewed my local, small-town librarian and discovered a treasure within this woman. Hopefully, awareness will help the problem.

Thanks, Beth.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Great post.
I love the library so to see it's budget cut would be a shame. One of my favourite thing when I was little was our trip to choose new library books. I'd hate to think kids may miss out on this.

Matthew Rush said...

I hope it's okay to swear on here Beth because this kind of shit really pisses me off.

I understand the recession sucks and politicians have to tighten the belt but why are education and educational resources always the first thing to go?

"Oh I know guys, we'll cut teacher salaries, fire half the librarians, turn half the libraries into prisons and sell the labor to the private sector." It's not just irresponsible or ignorant, it's evil!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Our library has been cutting its hours. It's getting hard to remember when they actually are open.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

This post made me sad. I love the quote - it's so, so true!

Anonymous said...

That's really saddening. Libraries is such a huge resources to students and the community -- cutting libraries is very much worrying. :<

Jemi Fraser said...

Libraries are safe havens for so many kids. I've known kids who've spent most of their weekends in libraries because that was the safest place to be. I hate to hear of any of them being closed.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I love the library and it's terrible. I live in Ann Arbor, a supposedly fairly affluent city. The school district is cutting librarians at the elementary level. They'll have to work at two libraries and the teachers will have to check out the books for the kids. I wonder who will shelve the books and keep the libraries the inviting places they have been. Also, I've noticed the cut back in buying new books. It's definitely troubling.

Marcia said...

I love the quotes and pray somebody is listening.

Not to be macabre, but the day libraries disappear I truly hope I've been dead a while. To me, the public library is the real educator of the masses. It gives the economically disadvantaged access to books, the internet, information, and, increasingly, even the ability to apply for jobs. It gives parents a place to bring the whole family to model curiosity and learning. It's a safe place for kids to go. It's got meeting rooms. A repository of history. Even the homeless spend their days there, and I say hurrah. People flock to the library in bad times, if only it can/will accommodate. But alas, I preach to the choir.

Great post.