Libraries in Crisis from the Huffington Post

November 28, 2011

I will be following this Libraries In Crisis series–it compiles and researches stories  in the library realm.  The comments are really enlightening, too.  It is interesting how passionate people get for and against libraries.  I feel that if something inspires that much rhetoric, then it must have value to be read, analyzed, debated, and explored…

Money always figures into the equation.  However, I would rather spend my tax money on something that benefits the community (libraries, police, fire, teachers, etc.) than something else.  Once the money is gone for these things, it probably won’t return.  Here are some quick facts (from this source):

  • Libraries are among the most effective of all public services, serving more than 2/3 of the public with less than 2 percent of all tax dollars.
  • Public libraries are a bargain. Nationally, the average cost to the taxpayer for access to this wide range of public-library resources is $33.56 a year, about the cost of one hardcover book.

As a perspective (also on ALA Fast Facts), Americans spend around$29 billion candy each year, which equals around $94 per person (USA Today-2008).

Here is the website to the Huffington Post site: Libraries in Crisis.

No matter which side you support, I would encourage you to visit your local library at various times of day, and see how it is being used.  You may be surprised at what types of services are offered and how many people are served.  Ask questions; attend a class; get involved somehow.   Make suggestions if your library isn’t what you think it should be.  Then judge whether libraries have outlived their usefulness.  I would gladly give up the extra candy to have my library!

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