Sunday Ramblings, Funding Libraries in Difficult Times

Interesting piece in the Detroit Free Press today on the cuts facing public libraries.  With all of the current revenue problems, many communities are cutting public library budgets.  What is interesting about library use is it skyrockets during tough financial times.  So many of these libraries are facing cuts when patrons need them most.

Recently, a reporter for FOX Chicago posed the question, are libraries "a waste of tax money?"  I was not surprised to hear what a reporter from "Fox News" thought, no surprise there.  The response from Mary A. Dempsey, commissioner of the Chicago Public Library is wonderful to read. I am not going to get into a political debate, but my tax dollars have been wasted on far worse items (and events) over the past decade than a public library system.  

When it comes to taxes and libraries, I think back to something former Minnesota Governor Jessie Ventura said, "when we build a public library, we don't have to pay to get in, but when we build a stadium, we have to pay the owner every time we go to a game." 

I know the two local libraries (Flat Rock and Trenton) do much more than just supply books.  They provide various programs for all age groups along with Internet and computer access.  Also, librarians with advanced degrees are available to provide assistance to patrons. Libraries serve a meeting points for various groups and organizations.  I still wish my home town, Brownstown Township, had a library.

What do you think?  Are libraries a waste of tax dollars?  Does the Internet solve all needs for knowledge?  Will libraries even be around in ten years?  I sure hope so, I fear the recent backlash of all things "government run". 


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