Friday, October 16, 2009

Libraries in crisis . . .

By Lonnie Cruse

An Illinois librarian contacted me yesterday (and I presume a zillion other people) and asked me to contact our Illinois lawmakers about the proposed cut to library funding. I was more than happy to participate. This library has invited me to speak to their patrons and they shelve copies of my books. Beyond that, ALL libraries need our support right about now.

In this tough economy readers who have less money to spend buying books are using local libraries more than ever, to keep them stocked up on reading materials. Library computers with Internet access are in high demand. Parents are taking kids to the library for programs and books rather than participating in more expensive activities. Audio books can be downloaded from some libraries and listened to for free! Libraries are necessary! And they are in danger of losing their funding! Because lawmakers have to cut costs somewhere.

Those readers who are falling in love with and buying the new e-readers are looking to libraries for e-books to download. I'm rather hoping to find some for myself. As of now, most e-books from libraries can not be downloaded to a Kindle, but there are other e-reader options.

I know money is tight for most everyone, and there are things that come before books. Some people consider food and shelter to be more important than books. I'm not one of them. And cutting library funding? Eventually that could lead to closing our libraries, and that's simply not acceptable. We NEED our libraries for the information and services they provide.

So, do you live in the great state of Illinois? If so, and if you agree with me that we don't want our library funding cut, contact your lawmakers and let them know. Click on this link:

And if you live in another of the other forty-nine great states, you may want to contact your local librarian and ask what the status of the library is. Do they need help in keeping funding? Anything else you can do for them?

Those of us with library cards get a lot out of them. Isn't it time we give something back? Just my $.02.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It's so wrong that states are cutting funding at a time of great resurgence in the number of people visiting public libraries each day.

Great post and an important reminder to keep on top of this issue.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Joyce said...

We're having the same problem here in Pennsylvania. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh announced they were closing four branches. (I mentioned this in my post yesterday on Working Stiffs.) The West End Branch, which opened in 1899, is one that is scheduled to close. My first "real" job was at this branch.

It's very sad that cities and counties have plenty of money to spare to build sports stadiums and casinos, but none for libraries. I read in the newspaper (thank goodness we still have one) that the city of Pittsburgh only gives $40,000 per year to support Carnegie Library!

Janel said...

A few years ago our county library system lost it's mileage renewal and had to make cuts. My small town library was only open 3 days a week.

The next year when library funding was again on the voting ballot the community rallied and gave the libraries their funding. Now the libraries that were fully or partially closed are back up and running and employees that were laid off (right before Christmas!) are back at work.

If people stick together and show their support it can definitely make a difference. Good luck in Illinois!

Lonnie Cruse said...

Thanks for your support, ladies!

signlady217 said...

I love my local library! I'm in there so often that the librarians call me by name when they see me around town! I don't put books ahead of food and shelter, but they definitely are in front of clothes and shoes! At yard sales, flea markets, and second-hand stores, I always gravitate to the books (and usually find something!) I also have a great used book store here. When I go on out of town trips, I check the local yellow pages or the internet for bookstores. My husband thinks I am crazy! But I'm just crazy for books!

Pattie T. said...

I think more people need to be educated about their local library's online catalog. I'm sure not all systems are as extensive as the one we have here in St. Louis, but my guess is that at least a third of the people holding library cards don't know all their local library has to offer online. One of my favorite things is having the ability to request books from all 21 branches in the system. I always maintain a list of holds and am constantly going back and forth with books. I also appreciate being able to suggest a purchase and find that about 80% of those I suggest they buy, they do! The library is a wonderful place. I'm happy to say that the branch I make use of is almost always crowded.