Library Love

Posted June 29, 2010 by Holly in Discussions | 14 Comments

I’ve never understood why, but education is one of the first places that budgets get cut. Likewise, I’ve never understood why teachers don’t make more money. Nothing is more important than the education of our children. Maybe it sounds trite, but they really are our future. Do we want poorly education children to become poorly educated adults? Especially when it falls to those poorly educated adults to make the important decisions about our world? Of course not. But no one seems to recognize that.

Our school district – along with most others in California and across the country – is facing major budget cuts. Our already overcrowded classrooms are being pushed to the limits. Teachers are being given pink-slips, sport programs are being cut, and the art programs are pretty much being eliminated.

As if that isn’t enough, our public libraries are taking major hits, too. My local library doesn’t have the best selection of novels for either myself (the romance section is pretty sad) or my teenage daughter (and the YA section is even worse), but they do have some amazing programs for both kids and adults. They also have some great ebook and audiobook lending options, which make their lack of print selection more bearable.

It depresses me that many of our nation’s libraries may be closing. I know Wendy and Mollie are both facing major budget cuts in their libraries.

But not all hope is lost. There are things you can do to help keep your library open. Carol Fitzgerald recently wrote a wonderful article for the Huffington Post detailing some things you can do to support your local library and hopefully keep it open.The best quote from that article, as pointed out to me by Mollie?

Someone told me that when economic times are tough there are two places you do not close — libraries and parks. People need to nurture their minds and their bodies.

I couldn’t agree with that more. I think we often take our libraries for granted. Now is the time to step up and show some Library Love!

Tell us, how is the library important to you? 

Many thanks to Authors on the Web for the link!

Image credit CCPL

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14 responses to “Library Love

  1. Yea, my library (by “my” I mean the library I use, I no longer work in the public library system) got cut this year but also managed to win Library Journal’s Library of the Year! Wonder if that’ll help em get any funding back. Probably just wishful thinking though.

    The article reminded me to join the Friends of the Library. Only cost me 15 bucks.

  2. Sam

    Our library gets it’s funding from folks who never visit which scares me. Our book budget has been the same for years. I wish just once one of our town or county leaders would come in and see how busy we are all the time now.
    I wouldn’t be able to read or watch nearly as much as I do if it wasn’t for the library. We have a lot of students who come in to do homework because there are still many people who don’t have a computer at home – not to mention all the adults looking for jobs online.

  3. I love my library. I visit at least once a week, sometimes twice, and over the years have borrowed more than 1000 items.

    I am lucky though that I am living in an area with big population growth so rather than cutting facilities, my library system is expanding. Last year there was a new library about 20 minutes away, and next year there is going to be another new branch opening 5 minutes away from me. The best thing about new branches – they only stock new items, so loads of brand new books!

    I do know that I am lucky. I also wonder if our funding models are different than in the US because I can’t remember hearing about library branches being closed or services severely cut.

  4. Anonymous

    I always think of libraries from an author’s point of view. If I want to read a book I think the author deserves to make a profit from it. I would rather pay for a book even if I don’t love it, because the person who created it isn’t going to be able to make a living from thousands of people borrowing the same copy!!

  5. Sherri

    Holly I completely agree with your opinion regarding education and it stuns me that education always seems to be at the top of list when it comes to budget cuts.

    As for libraries – I couldn’t live without mine! When I’m pinching pennies I can count on the library to feed my book cravings as well as for dvds, cds and even internet access. My local branch also offers ESL classes, Mommy & Me drop ins, and help for those seeking employment. In summer they offer air conditioning & free water for those who need a break from the heat and there are dozens of free programs for all age groups.

    Libraries are not just book repositories but full-fledge community assistance centres. Having their budgets cut or going so far as to close a branch is a blow to the local area.

    Thank you Mollie for the ‘Friends of the Library’ reminder! Off to take care of that now…

  6. I’m an author and I love libraries. There is sometimes a misperception that somehow libraries don’t pay for books, but they do. They buy the books in their circulation (though they do get donations, most of what libraries have are items they’ve bought)

    Libraries are community oriented. They offer all sorts of services to the community – storytime for children, computer classes, they have space for locals to use for their own events and meetings.

    They’re all good. For everyone. I grew up without a lot of money. Without libraries I’d have read a heck of a lot less. I spent many many afternoons with a stack of books and entered another world.

    Libraries change lives and it breaks my heart to see them taking the hits they do.

  7. @anonymous
    I always think of libraries from an author’s point of view. If I want to read a book I think the author deserves to make a profit from it.

    Yes, authors want to make a profit. But I hold no grudge against people reading my books through a library. I even donated copies to a local branch. I write to tell a story that I want to get into as many hands as possible. Yes, I might lose a few (probably very few *g*) bucks when people borrow them from libraries, but don’t we also pass books amongst ourselves to friends and family? Technically, authors lose money that way, too. I refuse to turn my craft into a penny-pinching venture, and I am thrilled when anyone takes time out of her busy day to spend time with my stories.

    Hope that gives you one author’s perspective on libraries. 🙂

  8. I’m an author and I love my library. I have them (city and county) on my list of donations that I make when I’m paying my bills (Not a lot, but I make sure to send a little something to someone every month – I circulate through a few different places, like the red cross and my church, etc. Love online bill pay, lol).

  9. Every two weeks while I was growing up, the country bookmobile would show up at our crossroads, which would be such a high point. It was like a magic carpet that whisked me away to exciting places and adventure far away from our remote ranching community on the OR/CA border. Fast forward several years later, and another bookmobile in AZ kept me sane supplying me with Gothic romances during my son’s Terrible Twos.

    I’m an author who LOVES libraries! My sister-in-law just retired from what may be one one of the smallest libraries, but fortunately, she had access to all of the OR state system so her patrons were able to read books they might not be able to afford to buy otherwise. Before the Internet, whenever I’d research a book, I’d save up my quarters and go to the library and look up things on those old micro-film reels. The research librarians — the world’s first search engine — were invaluable.

    A dear friend who was RWA’s first Librarian of the Year was one of the first librarians in the country to actually catalog romance novels. I love that they offer yet another way for readers to find my stories. I’ve even written a librarian heroine in the first of my Callahan Brothers trilogy.

    Libraries — and librarians — rock!

  10. I use my library on new-to-me authors that I’m not sure I want to invest my hard earned money into. If I read an author I like, I usually DO buy all their books. However, the library allows me to expand my reading palate by trying different authors/genres I might not normally PAY for. However, a lot of users of libraries also still buy A LOT of books. I do anyway.

    I’ve heard of very few authors who be grudge libraries. Libraries and librarian’s often offer “reader’s advisory” services which is basically recommending new books/authors based on people’s reading habits/tastes.

    Most of us (at least I do) get a lot of our recommendations from other book blogs. But there are still a lot of people who rely on libraries and librarians to rec commend new authors. Libraries give people the opportunity to discover new books/authors!

  11. I love my library! The branch I use has a non profit group that helps support the library. They collect books and then have book sales through out the year, where the funds go to buy new materials and maintain the building. Just recently funds were used to completely overhaul the building and make more space for new books, movies, books on tape, etc. I have checked out thousands of items form the library. Many of the books I’ve read, I loved so much that I have had to go out and buy my own copy. There are so many books and movies that I would never read/see if I did not patronize the library.

    It’s funny that in hard times, the things we need the most, like eduction and funding for schools is cut first. These are the tools we give to the future generations to ensure that they can survive and succeed in life. What good is it if we undermine it?

  12. Anonymous

    I must say, I don’t understand why Americans whine about the cost of books. In Australia a book that costs $8 in the States costs about $40 here – and that’s when it’s released six months after you guys get it! I get upset by people who claim they ‘need’ libraries. How about the authors who NEED you guys to actually fork out eight measly dollars so they can make a profit from their books and have a career?! How about giving up a crap Starbucks coffee a week and buying a book instead?!

  13. Anonymous

    Without libraries authors wouldn’t have nearly the amount of readers they do.

  14. Libraries offer a lot more than just free access to books. It is the only way a lot of people have access to the internet:

    According to the University of Washington report, Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits From Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, 77 million people, roughly one-third of all Americans older than 14, use public libraries or wireless networks to go online.

    In these economic times when a lot of people are barely able to make ends meet the rely on libraries for internet access to search and apply for jobs. When the economy is down libraries see a boom in usage.

    Libraries also offer, as mentioned before, a sense of community, they have storytimes for children which promote early childhood literacy, many offer teen areas and services which is a great way to keep teens out of trouble.

    I don’t know what its like in Australia but for a lot of Americans, libraries are an expected service from it’s tax payers. And it’s a lot more than free books.

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