Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ohio libraries

A 1941 picture of the new bookmobile in Davidson County, North Carolina. According to its web site, the Davidson County Library is the oldest county public library in North Carolina.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What happened with Ohio libraries? They were threatened with huge budget cuts.

I found this week-old story from the Ohio Library Council.

Another story yesterday from the same source discussed canceled events.

About forty years ago I worked on a small town newspaper. We were inclined to run a story and then drop it, never follow up. The library story, not just in Ohio, but across the nation, is too important to drop.

In my search, I found rays of hope. Here's one of those.

When I think of libraries, I think of people like my wife. She grew up in rural Missouri. Her most important access to books growing up was through the library bookmobile. By the time she was in the eighth grade, she had read many of the books in that small mobile library several times. They tell the story in her family that if you wanted to find her as a child, you had to look up. She was somewhere on the "back forty" up in a tree reading a book.

She still reads voraciously, several books a week, way more than I do.

Libraries are one hope for the poor. They are a part of this nation's traditional commitment to make knowledge and education available to all, a commitment we are failing to carry out, by the way. And now, in many places, libraries have become media resources for the poor and unemployed.

Don't forget to support your local and state libraries.

PS If you didn't click on the picture, click here to see an interesting Davidson County, North Carolina, web page which reflects the pictorial history of their bookmobile.


Corey Wilde said...

Part of the problem with follow up stories is that the budget cuts were made at the state level but the effects are felt at the level of individual library systems: city, county, or systems within those areas. Each system will be affected differently based on the how much it already depended on state funding. As per my post of a couple of days ago, my system, CML will suffer a 35% total cut. They haven't announced staffing cuts or closures yet, but I'm sure they are looking closely at the numbers and the needs. They are also trying to offset the cuts as much as possible with various fundraising techniques. I'm sure other systems are doing the same. The fall-out may not really start to show for several more weeks, and be fully felt over the next two years (the state budget in Ohio is for two years).

Joe Barone said...

Corey, I felt like if I brought the subject up, I would hear from people like you who know what the situation is on the ground.

I'm sure what is happening in Ohio is happing for libraries in other states too.

Corey Wilde said...

I just read in today's paper that the library system serving the Cleveland & Cuyahoga County areas (northern center of the state) is raising fines for overdue items, cutting 50 employees, and eliminating Sunday hours for 21 out of 28 locations. Seems like they would have chosen to close on a weekday though, because the article said that Sunday is their busiest day of the week based on number of visitors per hour.

Joe Barone said...

Not good. What else can I say?

pattinase (abbott) said...

How ironic that just as we need to count on our libraries more, the cut in funds mean we can count on them less. Illiteracy our new status.

Joe Barone said...

Patti, I fully agree.