Wither Thou Libraries?

Scott McKnight at Beliefnet posted some quotes from a story at My Fox Chicago about closing libraries to save tax dollars. The Fox story is here

From the story:

They eat up millions of your hard earned tax dollars. It’s money that could be used to keep your child’s school running. So with the internet and e-books, do we really need millions for libraries?

There are choices that free societies make about what is important and what isn’t. Obviously, high on the list is safety and security A society that cannot protect itself breaks down very fast. After safety and security, education and information comes high on the list. Why? Well, educated and informed citizens make better citizens, particularly in a democracy.  Democracies by their nature need citizenry who are able to think through issues and make intelligent decisions. Libraries, by their nature help in the process of keeping citizens informed and educated.

At this time in our history libraries also serve an important function that often goes unnoticed. Many people have had to give up their home Internet access. For many jobs the Internet is the preferred way to both advertise  and apply for jobs. Closing down libraries will severely limit some from being able to get the jobs that they need.

Libraries are also a source of knowledge beyond books and Internet services. Many libraries offer free classes in a wide variety of subjects. Some even about topics that can help with your job skills.  It’s those skills that will help to get us out of this recession.

Some argue that in tight budget times like we are going through now, libraries represent an ideal place to cut back or even close. Those ideas are short sighted and counter productive. The benefits for our society as a whole outweigh the relatively small costs that the library represents. To quote an old saying, let’s not be penny wise and pound foolish.

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Published in: on 07/05/2010 at 5:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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