Thursday, July 11, 2013

Soapbox: The State Of Our Local Libraries

Honestly, the Library should be a no brainer to the populous but it seems that every year people are closing libraries left and right. 

In my local paper in a small corner, no headline, was that by 2014 our local libraries would close. Me, being me, FREAKED out. There was a panic attack and much book hugging of the library book kind because I almost want to cry. There should be a public outcry for the library. The state of libraries is fundamental to our development not only as a people, society by also as a right of passage and growing up. 

Just about every year they are closing public libraries locally. The previous county where we lived actually closed all 5 branches and they are STILL closed six years later, people just would not fund these libraries. The building are all there filled with stories that no one can read. These books are all alone.

To save the 10 local branched in out county and outlying areas the county is proposing adding $7 to our utility bills in county, or .27 cents to every assessed $1000 of property value which would add $50 a year to save our library systems. People don't want to pay for things so I imagine that these additives are going to never happen but it leaves me at a loss. 

Honestly I live an hour from the nearest town. I get up check my library info, order books, reserve books, throw a review or two up, then peruse the new collection. I can download music from our library, audiobooks, car manuals. I can learn a language, get math help, join a discussion and so much more. Our libraries are an integral part of our society, education and development. 

I am the librarian to a small school district in the mountain and the only way I receive a small paycheck is because I help fund raise all year to help our school foundation to fund the music, arts and library at our school. The school has not purchased new books into the library since the 1980's.  This past year I have scoured library sales, used bookstores and shelved in over 200 personal books from my household to get these kids interested in reading. Using my local personal library card I have ordered books for kids (which have all been kindly returned on time) so they could get books we don't have or finish series that I did not have all of the books to.
13 To Life, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Hunger Games, Beautiful Creatures; have all been series the  kids have been eating up.

I just don't know what to say. I know that the technological age is smothering us, and getting kids to talk to us or text us is like pulling teeth in households all around, but please, please don't take away our libraries. There is so much that is so important to people in libraries; they were always a safe place for me. I could hide from all of my troubles and hurts of my youth in the library. Trail my fingers across the spines and imagine myself in so many more places than the desolation of my childhood home. There is something safe and soothing about libraries; a calm in the busy storms. Books cannot judge us, we can find freedom from so many realities in a good book. 

This was my library SOAPBOX. When the fight starts, I will be there. There is no sign too heavy, no book too large for me to want to join in others in a collective to save our libraries. These stories are our future. Tech is great but one day, when the power goes out, or the storms are raging (remember I live in the mountains, this happens frequently) the glow of your phone will go out, but the page of a book is always there for you. 

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