Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Budget cuts harm libraries--and America as we know it

One of my good pals from high school alerts me to a renewed threat to libraries. Bonnie posted on Facebook recently: "This library (shown in a photo), in my hometown was a Carnegie funded library. As a child, I fell in love with books here- Jack London, Burgess, the Oz books, heaven. Every week I'd check out a stack - a huge treat. I can see and smell those rooms now. What will budget cuts do to places like this?"

Good question, Bonnie. And her pal, Don, commented
"Corporate America and their representative lackeys and hatchetmen in Washington know that an educated populace is dangerous. They count on the people not being able to connect the fact that tax breaks for corporations and the richest 1% of Americans have to be paid for by the closure of libraries and national parks, the laying off of teachers and policemen and the discontinuance of myriad other services for the people."

The state of California has already axed its support for libraries, and in my town we're struggling to keep the library doors open a mere 12 hours a week. (If you want to help keep library programs going in my little town of Lincoln, please go to the Friends of Lincoln Library website and hit "Donate".) Can you imagine our parents' generation allowing that to happen to their society? By
letting conservatives play on our fears of paying adequate taxes and cutting programs like the military, we are letting them make choices about what kind of country we will be in the coming years.

If these proposed cuts go through, here's what we could could end up with: a country with a big military, a small but vastly wealthy upper class that controls politics and services, and a huge and swelling lower class, whose children and seniors don't have access to educational resources (good schools and libraries) and health care, and fewer chances to break out of poverty.

We may be the only nation to go from an advanced economy to 'Third World' status in one generation. Oh, but we'll reduce that all-important deficit, so rich folks won't have to worry about their stock portfolio. Great job, America.

Get involved: Talk to your congress person, your city council members, your mayor and tell them you support libraries. Join your local 'friends of the library' group, and if your means allow it, make a donation to your library today. Or you can help one little library.

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