Sullivan Free Library's Blog

August 23, 2010

Are Libraries Relevant?

Filed under: Library Issues — Sullivan Free Library @ 5:25 pm
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I was browsing through the comments in a newspaper article today and was struck by one that stated that public libraries are no longer needed, because “Who doesn’t have books and computers and the internet in their own home?”

My guess is that this person hasn’t visited a library in a very long time, if ever.  This very one-sided view shows a limited perception of the realities of the world around him/her.

Public libraries are filled daily with people who do not have computers and internet access in their homes.  And while I know that there are people who prefer to buy books rather than borrow them from the library, I don’t know of many people who can afford to buy every book they’d ever want to read.

This uninformed attitude about libraries is one of the factors that have kept libraries underfunded for decades, never more so than in recent times, when the economic recession is sending people to their public libraries in record numbers.

The majority of our funding comes from a local library tax which is voted on every year at the same time as the school budget.  We’ve been extremely fortunate to have a community that values and supports libraries; our budget has  passed by a wide margin for the past sixteen years.  Still, I get occasional calls and comments from people complaining that they don’t understand why THEY have to pay taxes to support the library when they never use it.

I would hazard a guess that, even if they’ve never stepped foot into their local library, they’ve benefited in some way from supporting it. A good library is a resource for everyone in the community, from school children to businesses to senior citizens.   It is far better to have a library available even if you don’t think you need it than to need it and not have the services available.

What do you think?  Do you have any library “sucess stories” to share?


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