Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Card Carrying Member of....the Local Public Library

This is a serious post.  If blogs had subtitles, this entry would be "And now our libraries need us".

I would bet that, of the nearly 200 bloggers in this year's Blogathon, that most of us are heavy users of our local libraries.

I've lived in NY, Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Arkansas, and in every one of these places, I made frequent use of the local library.  I can remember the days, growing up in the Bronx, when librarians kept track of your books by taking your card and putting it against a pocket in the book, taking a picture.  And then they would stamp a card with the due date and put it in the pocket.

Now, everything is electronic, and after your card and your books' bar codes are scanned, a receipt prints out.  That drives me crazy, but one local library, the one in Vestal, still stamps that pocket.

But they may not be doing that for much longer.

Most of our local libraries, but the Vestal Library especially, are in danger.

The Vestal Library has had to cut hours and purchases this year.

Prior to that, another local library (Endicott) had to do much the same thing for a lot of the 1990's into the early part of this century.

Reasons?  It can be complicated.  Governments are hurting.  Around here, a lot of people are hurting.   Our citizens don't want to pay increased taxes.  Local governments are cutting services.

A blog written by an urban librarian (not part of our Blogathon, but very worthwhile to read), details the danger to her job she personally faces.

Ironically, this is happening at a time when more people need public libraries than ever.  People here (and in your home town, I bet) depend on the library for internet access. Children need homework help.  Some parents use libraries as unofficial after school day care.  People job hunt at libraries.  People use databases.  They study for exams.  They read the magazines they can no longer afford to subscribe to.  People take out videos and now, even e-books, at the local library.

Libraries have not become less relevant with the electronic age.  They have become more relevant.

So, what can we as Blogathoners do to save our libraries?  I'm shy, and not very outspoken.  Any ideas?

2 comments:

  1. Use them. You have mentioned ways in which our public libaries serve the public. I think it is equally important that those who can afford to buy all the books they want to have should also pay regular visits to a nearby library. My husband and I make it a point to do so. We frequently check out and read books that we haven't seen at a bookstore. I am privileged to have had a life-long love affair with libraries.

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  2. I am posting a comment in my email that I can't get onto my blog - it keeps saying the comment "no longer exists" So this is going to sound like I'm doing it but I'm not.


    Barbara McDowell Whitt has left a new comment on your post "A Card Carrying Member of....the Local Public Libr...":

    Use them. You have mentioned ways in which our public libraries serve the public. I think it is equally important that those who can afford to buy all the books they want to have should also pay regular visits to a nearby library. My husband and I make it a point to do so. We frequently check out and read books that we haven't seen at a bookstore. I am privileged to have had a life-long love affair with libraries.

    ReplyDelete

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