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(This diary is written by an American expat living in the European Union who is a male business librarian who holds a graduate library degree (MLS) and a Master's degree in business administration in marketing).

As an American librarian I am glad to be living in the European Union where library funding isn't under attack to the extent that it is back home in the United States, because readership, literacy and an open based knowledge system that is publicly funded is still valued. In America, library budgets have become low hanging fruit for conservative local and state politicians.Louisiana is the worse case in point where Gov. Bobby Jindal has eliminated state library funding all together. Not only does it beg the question will your state be next but it asks the question what will you do  when they come for your library and your kid's summer reading program? Do you really know how many books it's really going to take to make that special child or grandchild in your life a lifelong reader. Do you think you have anywhere near those numbers of books in your private collection?

Please let's remember the voluminous studies that have been done year after year, decade after decade that show us that prison inmates for the most part are functionally illiterate and that teen pregnancy is directly linked to literacy rates.  

Christian Science Monitor:  November 18, 2013
Louisiana residents choose libraries over jail to receive funds  Residents of Lafourche Parish in Louisiana recently voted down a proposal that would have used money currently going to local libraries to build a new prison.
http://www.csmonitor.com/...
Literacy statistics and juvenile court

85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.

More than 60 percent of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate.

Penal institution records show that inmates have a 16% chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70% who receive no help. This equates to taxpayer costs of $25,000 per year per inmate and nearly double that amount for juvenile offenders.

Illiteracy and crime are closely related. The Department of Justice states, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure." Over 70% of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.
http://www.begintoread.com/...

According to UNICEF: "Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and two thirds of them are women."

People who don't grow up as lifelong readers grow up in an America living under a form of de facto censorship and what it means is that the censor, by withholding library funding, limits access to reading materials to children from a young age. So they don't get to see the other side of the coin and wind up developing a one-sided point of view which has been historically associated with sexism, homophobia, racial bigotry and other forms of intolerance and hate. If we don't support libraries, we support going backwards in a type of devolution of the past which is exactly what the Tea Party types mean when they say they want their country back.

My question to you Mr or Mrs Progressive America, just how far back in time will you let the haters take us? Will you let them take us back to a point in time when women didn't have the right to choose, a time before the civil rights movement would let anyone who chose to sit at the lunch counter, or when a time at the back of the bus was reserved, a time when people were hated for who they are or for who they loved or for what God they believed in, that is their America.  But it's not our America, it's not the progressive America that we've come to love and aspire to, because that America is supported by your neighborhood library as an open knowledge learning center, where everyone is treated the same. It doesn't matter if it's the mayor or a homeless person, you can expect to receive the same level of service. You can expect to have access to a collective repository of everyone whose ever thought and everyone whose ever written, that's why I became a librarian and a reader and a listener and someone who you can count on to resist censorship in all of its guises. That includes false arguments related to library funding.

Source: From the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy - U.S. Illiteracy Statistics (as of 2013)

Percent of U.S. adults who can’t read: 14 %
Number of U.S. adults who can’t read: 32 Million
Percent of U.S. adults who read below a 5th grade level: 21 %
Percent of prison inmates who can’t read: 63 %
Percent of high school graduates who can’t read: 19 %
http://www.statisticbrain.com/...

The library is a public good. It belongs to everyone but only for as long as you're willing to defend it. Public libraries due to budget cuts are cutting their operating hours, their services and yes too many are shutting their doors. Therefore this action diary asks you in support of your local library to write a letter to the editor today and to do it for yourself and do it for the special children in your life. Do it for your community and tell them that you support full community library funding today, tomorrow and forever.
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Updated information regarding the functioning of the library as an adult education center, made at the request of a reader.

The library as a children & adult learning center
One of the best parts about being a librarian is the information sharing. So I am pleased to have the opportunity to share with you my experience of working in the library as a children's and adult education center. You always hear these wonderful stories about adults who have come into the library, people of great skill and are essentially completely self educated. Though many librarians hold multiple graduate degrees and often PhDs as well, particularly in academic libraries. I can honestly say some of the most educated people I have encountered were self-educated lawyers. I am from Washington State back when I was living in the U.S. and Washington is one of those states that allows you to be a lawyer without having to go to law school. So I worked with a number of lawyers who were basically self-educated people who served under an apprenticeship under another lawyer who helped them. So they came to the law library with their learning contracts and we worked with them. I have to tell you this was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my working life. So you see libraries really do work. They really are great adult learning centers.  

I will end on this positive note which is basically if we build it they will come, not only now but for generations to come, in terms of the best library system the world has ever seen. We can definitely do this work together. A library's job is information sharing, but its survival comes down to you sharing our message at home with family, friends and your community, which is libraries are a real American success story. They always have been and we can't possibly afford to lose it. Please in support your community libraries by pasting this diary to your friend on social media today. We need your help! Thank you. :-)

PS: Here's the link to another library diary I wrote that deserves your attention on a similar subject matter.
When more libraries are closed what will happen to intellectual freedom & prejudice in America?
http://www.dailykos.com/...

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Please feel invited to follow me on Twitter or the Daily Kos.

Daily Kos: Democrats Ramshield
Link: http://www.dailykos.com/...

Please follow me on facebook:   facebook.com/Dems.Ramshield
My email address: democratsramshield@yahoo.com

Originally posted to Democrats Ramshield on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:09 AM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter, Readers and Book Lovers, Kitchen Table Kibitzing, Southern California Inland Empire Kossacks, Central Valley Kossacks, KosAbility, Los Angeles Kossacks, San Diego Kossacks, Sustainable Senior Living, California politics, and Daily Kos Classics.

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  •  Tip Jar (282+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, jennyp, northsylvania, Gowrie Gal, 42, David54, SpecialKinFlag, howabout, se portland, corvo, Thinking Fella, Pirogue, lcrp, Radiowalla, SteelerGrrl, Dirtandiron, Elizaveta, Louisiana 1976, Flint, melfunction, Jakkalbessie, CroneWit, USHomeopath, FloridaSNMOM, wayoutinthestix, Egalitare, emmasnacker, jan4insight, puakev, Sister Havana, kjoftherock, Shockwave, Susan from 29, flowerfarmer, Brecht, livjack, Mr Robert, ask, Lily O Lady, bleeding blue, Betty Pinson, elwior, Liberal Thinking, northerntier, T Maysle, Hammerhand, elfling, miscanthus, solesse413, dfarrah, Iberian, Powered Grace, Tod, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, chimpy, Brian82, AaronInSanDiego, radarlady, Pam from Calif, jomi, expatjourno, carolanne, novapsyche, mollyd, Tool, Laurel in CA, StateofEuphoria, native, AdamR510, triv33, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, Mr Stagger Lee, lineatus, batchick, Assaf, jparnell, theBreeze, camlbacker, TracieLynn, Brown Thrasher, Free Jazz at High Noon, peptabysmal, nirbama, mookins, remembrance, Friend of the court, wader, greengemini, My Spin, Yellow Canary, sawgrass727, Ian Reifowitz, ConservatismSuxx, tidalwave1, DerAmi, jasan, blueoregon, where4art, john07801, Unitary Moonbat, old wobbly, LillithMc, ER Doc, Aaa T Tudeattack, flitedocnm, Chaddiwicker, Nespolo, SneakySnu, Orinoco, dewtx, HedwigKos, marina, Wolf10, yoduuuh do or do not, EdSF, libera nos, catfishbob, klompendanser, petulans, Steven D, lostinamerica, bloomer 101, NightOwl40, skywriter, rebel ga, PrahaPartizan, aitchdee, enhydra lutris, fallina7, sow hat, xynz, Rogneid, OleHippieChick, onionjim, StellaRay, potato, marleycat, Ignacio Magaloni, refinish69, FarWestGirl, Chacounne, Jim P, Loonesta, nannyboz, bryduck, Mayfly, fixxit, cwsmoke, Colorado is the Shiznit, Sara R, Born in NOLA, Alumbrados, grollen, rbird, Robynhood too, MNGlasnant, bnasley, Cassandra Waites, willyr, soarbird, Galtisalie, Miss Jones, mudslide, Zinman, urnumbersix, wasatch, Temmoku, poligirl, GreyHawk, Sarahsaturn, samanthab, barbwires, myboo, skybluewater, emorej a Hong Kong, bbctooman, sunny skies, Panacea Paola, on the cusp, Val, grimjc, dharmasyd, gramofsam1, jamess, eru, lotlizard, antirove, Prairie Gal, basquebob, Blue Bell Bookworm, blueoasis, joynow, DFWmom, JusticeSeeker68, Ditch Mitch KY, psnyder, retLT, catadromous, begone, politically indigo, RainyDay, Jesse Douglas, bsmechanic, Arilca Mockingbird, zerelda, Limelite, millwood, shortfinals, suesue, 4Freedom, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Steveningen, deepeco, alkalinesky, bythesea, Shippo1776, rogeopa, pcl07, Lujane, Bob Duck, LinSea, RiveroftheWest, kaliope, kurt, KJG52, agincour, Shelley99, Byron from Denver, concernedamerican, lulusbackintown, No one gets out alive, Debs2, Plox, The grouch, puzzled, NearlyNormal, OllieGarkey, cv lurking gf, BooneForTexas, wvmom, Oldowan, missLotus, musicsleuth, Notreadytobenice, Sharon Wraight, Jim R, Gorette, edsbrooklyn, dkmich, slowbutsure, wildweasels, One Pissed Off Liberal, asym, bookgirl, SuWho, wintergreen8694, DJ Rix, LamontCranston, miriam, BobboSphere, SherrieLudwig, Headlight, Lashe, Caniac41, river0, debris54, splashy, nicolemm, fhcec, tofumagoo, War4Sale, nyhcmaven84, skyounkin, Tex Arcana, lastamendment, Lonesome Jeff, 2dot, DemInCville, dconrad, arch, dewolf99, cskendrick

    You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

    by Democrats Ramshield on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:09:14 AM PST

  •  It's happening in the UK as well. (37+ / 0-)

    I think the neoliberals in charge here are closer to the American model than the European, more's the pity.

    "The 'Middle' is a crowded place - that is where the effective power is - the extreme right and left might annoy governments, but the middle terrifies them." Johnny Linehan

    by northsylvania on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:19:19 AM PST

  •  I do wonder just how much (40+ / 0-)

    Americans still care about things that fall under the category of "public good."  I also can't help but think that each time a public library advertises itself as "We're just like Blockbuster . . . but we're free!", a little bit of the consciousness as to why we need libraries dies.  Oh, and it's increasingly the case that academic libraries are under fire because even university administrators seem convinced that "it's all on Google now anyway" -- and there are more than a few library administrators around who are only too happy to perpetuate that impression.

    On a lighter note: Somewhere I have filed away a picture I took of the Dachshund mascot of a Stadtbücherei in a small Franconian vineyard town.  He gets to "process" all of the unneeded pulp fiction donations . . . with his forepaws and teeth of course.  He's very thorough, but it takes a while to clean up after him. :-)))

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:26:54 AM PST

  •  I wonder (10+ / 0-)

    if you have a link to anything that might give a more concrete explanation of the events regarding Jindal's measure. As a La. citizen I plan to call his office, but without  being forearmed with concrete facts they can easily either lie or obfuscate their way around the truth.

    The world is a den of thieves and night is falling. -Ingmar Bergman

    by Pirogue on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:29:03 AM PST

  •  The wealthy communities (55+ / 0-)

    will continue to have them, but poorer ones are screwed.  In other words the ones who need libraries the least will continue having them and the ones who need them most won't.

    I've seen it with my own eyes these past five months that I've been helping people sign up for Covered California.  The events have often been in libraries.  The ones in more affluent communities like Walnut Creek and Lafayette are huge, new, state of the art, they're like museums.  The ones in working class and poor communities with lots of immigrants are run down and not well-stocked.

    It's a damn shame.

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:31:22 AM PST

  •  While I am a firm supporter of libraries, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, carolanne, trumanesque, hester

    and I agree with your conclusion, I do not follow the arguments you are making to reach it.

    The UN report you cite speaks to people who have no access to education, rather than libraries.

    There is a difference between being functionally illiterate and being a lifelong reader - quite a bit of difference, actually, and you jump back and forth as though they were one and the same.

    Could you link to one or two recent studies that support this?

    voluminous studies that have been done year after year, decade after decade that show us that prison inmates for the most part are functionally illiterate and that teen pregnancy is directly linked to literacy rates
    I believe that several other factors have been shown to be major contributors recently, unless you're defining functional illiteracy differently than it is usually defined.

    Are you condemning those who use false arguments, or just those who use them against library funding?

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:41:29 AM PST

    •  To serendipityi - Diary has been updated (21+ / 0-)

      I updated the diary with some statistics which may be of interest to you. Generally speaking, we as library professionals take the view that the library in addition to serving children is also an adult lifelong learning center. The difference is you can come to us even if you can't afford to pay tuition. Libraries are not separate from schools. Before I became a law librarian I use to work in children's librarianship and where do you think they came after school for their research projects, because the school libraries are closed, you see. We also have summer reading programs for adults who need it and children.

      So libraries are not separate at all from schools is the general view of our profession. We are part of the children's and adult education centers. I think you'll find some of our readers also have views on this subject matter which may be of interest to you. In any case thank you for your thoughtful post and question. Both are welcomed and as such please do remember to support your local library. Thank you for your attention.

      You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:52:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Funding differs among the states (13+ / 0-)

    In my county, property taxes and other local funding accounts for about $63M in library funding and the state contributes only $1M.  

    We have strong library boards and strong public support.  When I worked county government it was unfortunate to see that the library wasn't that terrific at managing it's funding which it pretty much controlled.  This was particularly true with IT issues, which are a lot more significant now in the age of e-books than they were when I had some involvement 20 years.  

    Libraries do have to adapt to the changing technology and frankly librarians don't always have the skills to manage large IT projects.  Perhaps that's changed by now and education of librarians is adapting in that direction.

    As with pretty much every other quality of life issue, Louisiana and it's neighbors are just plain miserable.  But up here in the frozen north we do like our books to keep us warm through the long winters.

  •  Conservative politicians want people to be stupid (15+ / 0-)

    How else do you explain this?

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:41:40 AM PST

  •  At first I thought maybe library use (24+ / 0-)

    might be on the decline, which could be part of the reason for reduced funding.

    Recently, my daughter's college composition instructor asked how many students owned a public library card, and my daughter was the only one of 20+ students to raise her hand.

    But I found this in Wikipedia:

    Concerns about a general decline in library usage have proven to be unfounded.[2] Instead, the impact of technology on libraries has been mixed. While usage of some library services, such as reference assistance, has declined, there has been a well-documented increase in the usage of public libraries in the U.S. and Canada over the last decade.[3] Most libraries have added services such as public computers, free wifi, and digital materials such as web sites and e-books, leading to higher overall usage of the library. Counties and cities also continue to invest in in library infrastructure. As of 2012, library construction and renovation has remained steady.
    And this:
    At the same time, public funding of libraries has declined precipitously.[9] While libraries have a positive reputation, is unclear that citizens prioritize libraries over other government services when budgets must be cut. School and academic libraries have also faced both severe budget troubles and declining usage of traditional library services like reference and interlibrary loan.[10]
    Anyone who doesn't make good use of the library may not understand the need to fund these institutions and the money put toward them as wasted.

    Of course, anyone with a good social conscience who prefers to make informed decisions will, hopefully, continue to argue for library funding because we all benefit from having easy and free access to information in our communities.

    My family loves libraries and we see them as integral to our living simply, so the funding trends are troubling.

    •  Public library card (8+ / 0-)

      To be honest, I don't own one either, and I'm a librarian.  But I work at a university, so I can get everything I need at my campus, or else via interlibrary loan.  Perhaps the same is true with some of your daughter's classmates.  

      "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Nespolo on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:43:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just to be clear, I support public libraries 100% (5+ / 0-)

        I used them all the time when I was growing up, and even regularly rode the bus to the library in our state capital just so I could have a wider selection of materials to choose from.  I'm just speculating as to why college students may not own public library cards today.

        "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

        by Nespolo on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:46:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is definitely a factor. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cai, JamesGG, llywrch

        We had relatively decent school libraries where I was, elementary through high, so it was possible to do all your research projects for every class needed for graduation without actually going to the public library.

        When I went to college, no one told me where the local library there was, and as a student without a car it would have had to have been on one of the bus routes that served campus OR within a mile's walking distance for me to get there. But we had an absolutely awesome university library with high checkout limits and no weakness beyond not stocking recent fiction.

        If I hadn't been from a family where 'you can get your first library card of your very own now' was used as an enticement for learning to sign your own name, but books were purchased instead, I might have been on campus with no local library card and still checking out piles of stuff every semester.

      •  Quite. When I was in college, I might have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JamesGG

        technically had a library card from my hometown, if it hadn't expired, but I only got a local library card when they happened to have a particular book I needed that the college didn't have.

        Students at most four-year colleges will do as well, or far better, at their college libraries, particularly if they're looking for academic journals (paper or digital) or anything in any specialized field.  They may also have access to materials their instructors have put on hold there, either to save them money or because the item is not available otherwise.  And they will automatically have access to that library as an enrolled student.

        In other words, if there is any population I would not fret about not having a public library card, it would be university students.

        © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

        by cai on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:13:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have 5 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Elizaveta

        Different libraries have different strengths in their collections, so a few $$/year for out-of-town cards is well worth it.

      •  The better question for the instructor (0+ / 0-)

        to ask is who uses libraries and how or what for. Because only one student raised her hand, and this is a common response in her classes, she may have passed some judgement about how the younger students use libraries, if at all--that they all have Google and rarely go further.

        That judgement is narrow thinking if you consider the diarist's comments on libraries as centers of adult continuing education--which they have been for me and a few of my friends.

        Also, this question was asked at a community college, so students have limited campus resources and most are living in their home communities.

      •  "Owning" a library "card" just doesn't feel the (0+ / 0-)

        same now because we keep it all in the computer now and I have actually had to say (as someone mentioned above) "it's okay, you didn't lose it, we never gave you one, it's in the computer like Blockbuster."
            So DW's Library Card is becoming an anachronism.

        We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

        by nuclear winter solstice on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 08:22:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I own one..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        ...despite the fact that I write the ILL requests for our Library and have WorldCat, PubMed and Docline to play with, too. It's a reflex action on my part, to at help keep the Town Library numbers up (I do wander in and borrow the odd aviation book from time to time, and purchase something from the Friends Rolling Book Sale, too)

        'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

        by shortfinals on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 07:49:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Money quote, in a sad way: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elizaveta
      Of course, anyone with a good social conscience who prefers to make informed decisions will, hopefully, continue to argue for library funding because we all benefit from having easy and free access to information in our communities.
      Well, there's the rub, natch--the number of people (or voters, at any rate) with "a good social conscience" are dwindling, and have been for decades. Maybe that will turn around, but unfortunately, the state of funding has been so depressing for so long that some libraries have been put into a death spiral that looks like this: No money --> no new materials/services/programs --> the idea that the library is a waste of money. Breaking that cycle (to mix metaphors a bit) would require a sea change in a large majority of voters' personal philosophies--and soon.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 03:12:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The attacks on public education and the defunding (0+ / 0-)

        of libraries go had in hand. Part of the complacency is that there are those who don't care, but another part of it is that people don't want to imagine that this is going on. The schools and libraries have always been there, at least in their lives. They are too willing to believe that it will be only a small or temporary budget cut, while never being able to see that our public institutions are being subjected to death by 1000 small cuts.

        On top of that, most lower income people have been made to feel like they have the benefit of using these institutions because of the beneficence of others. When the truth is poorer people pay taxes too, and their taxes go to support these institutions as well. Part of the shaming which is promoted by certain members of our political class is designed to make the lower classes feel that they have no stake in our public institutions, especially schools and libraries, nor in the political process either.

        The economy and the environment are, in fact, permanently intertwined. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Can't have one without the other. - Meteor Blades

        by politically indigo on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 08:47:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very interesting point here: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest
          On top of that, most lower income people have been made to feel like they have the benefit of using these institutions because of the beneficence of others.
          This goes a long way toward explaining the phenomenon that has puzzled those of us on the left for decades: why are the non-rich voting as if they are rich? Most (me included) have attributed it to them voting for social issues over their own economic self-interest--and I still think that is the best reason, or at least the one that accounts for the most votes--but if what you are saying is true, getting them over to our side is going to be even more difficult, because we would have to not only take social issues off the tables, but also re-educate and virtually deprogram them as well.
          I do not have much optimism in the nation's continued existence, given the depth and speed to which we have been declining.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:51:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The good thing is that.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elizaveta, llywrch

      ....of all public institutions, libraries have one of the highest ratings with the population at large. Even Glenn Beck, as right wing as he is, has spoken highly of libraries. That's why even a lot of conservatives are hesitant about slashing library funding wholesale. But, of course, that doesn't mean we can be complacent.

    •  It makes sense to me ... (3+ / 0-)

      ... that there actually would be a rise in usage of libraries, at least among adults. With the explosion of unemployment in recent years coinciding with the growth in technology, more low-income adults are having to use library services in order to conduct basic business.

      You can't get a job as a fry cook at McDonald's without filling out an application online and having an email address. You can't just walk into a store and ask for an application or place a phone call to a manager or HR person anymore. Most businesses actually prohibit calls and snail mail from job applicants. For low-income people who can't afford to buy a computer or pay for Internet service, the library is the only avenue they have. We also have patrons who are taking online courses and have only our computers to do their coursework.

       The Great Recession threw lots of people out of work who had toiled for years and years in blue-collar or service jobs where computer skills weren't really a part of their job, so we see people in their 40s, 50s, 60s who have never used a computer before, never had to compile a resume, may not have had to look for work in a decade or two, and never had to do it online before, come into the library totally lost and needing help to navigate the new world they find themselves in.

      The library these days is so much more than "merely" a book repository. At my library, we spend a lot of time helping people set up email addresses, find their way around the Internet, register on job sites and fill out job applications. We offer free basic computer classes and classes in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher and classes on how to search on the Internet. We offer workshops for job seekers, budding entrepreneurs, retirees, grant writers and people needing help with credit and personal finance issues.

      We have sponsored seminars on the Affordable Care Act and various government services. We provide information on income tax preparation services and bus schedules. We help facilitate voter registration. We provide space for public meetings, group meetings, free film showings, cultural events, arts and crafts, children's activities, book signings, even space for filmmakers to conduct auditions.

      We offer free online subscription services, such as Learning Express (which includes practice tests for the GED, SAT and professional exams and aptitude tests such as the military's ASVAB), Reference USA (which allows you to look up personal and business phone numbers, business information and job listings) and the genealogical site Ancestry.com, some of which people might have to pay big bucks for to access at home.

      My library has a local history and genealogy division, which includes the local newspaper on microfilm going back nearly 200 years; state and local census data; vertical clipping files on people, events and institutions; historical maps; and city directories back to the 1830s, among other resources.

      And our DVD rentals at 75 cents for 7 days (and free for educational/informational videos) are a pretty darn good deal.

      And for those older folks who may not really have a need for the computer or the job help or may not own an ebook reader, there's still the comfort and satisfaction of the old-fashioned print books they grew up with.

      I don't know if there are any stats on this, but just anecdotally, libraries seem to be very popular with the general public, even when the government powers-that-be are indifferent or stingy. We very often hear our patrons tell us, with some passion, that they feel the library is the best thing they pay for with their tax money, hands down.

  •  The library as a children & adult learning center (18+ / 0-)

    One of the best parts about being a librarian is the information sharing. So I am pleased to have the opportunity to share with you my experience of working in the library as a children's and adult education center. You always hear these wonderful stories about adults who have come into the library, people of great skill and are essentially completely self educated. Though many librarians hold multiple graduate degrees and often PhDs as well, particularly in academic libraries. I can honestly say some of the most educated people I have encountered were self-educated lawyers. I am from Washington State back when I was living in the U.S. and Washington is one of those states that allows you to be a lawyer without having to go to law school. So I worked with a number of lawyers who were basically self-educated people who served under an apprenticeship under another lawyer who helped them. So they came to the law library with their learning contracts and we worked with them. I have to tell you this was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my working life. So you see libraries really do work. They really are great adult learning centers. They always have been. Let's not lose that.  Please support your community libraries. Thanks.

    You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

    by Democrats Ramshield on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 10:00:05 AM PST

  •  In the words of (11+ / 0-)

    Lafourche Parish council chairman Lindel Toups:

    “They’re teaching Mexicans how to speak English,” the council chairman said in reference to Biblioteca Hispana, a Hispanic-language segment of the Golden Meadow library branch. “Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico. There’s just so many things they’re doing that I don’t agree with. … Them junkies and hippies and food stamps (recipients) and all, they use the library to look at drugs and food stamps (on the Internet). I see them do it.”

    “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

    by se portland on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 10:22:19 AM PST

  •  Shout out for the Sitka AK library (18+ / 0-)

    I was just there yesterday. It sits on the harbor -- okay, the whole town is on the harbor, but still, this quite new building occupies the space that might have been given to some eager developer. It's literally the last thing before you get to the water, right next to the piers, and the reading tables are arranged in front of enormous windows with phenomenal views.

    In this town of 8,800 way out of tourist season, it was full of people of all ages coming and going and greeting one another. It felt like a community center that happened to be filled with books, including a truly impressive collection of work related to the tribes.

    •  Alaska libraries are great (0+ / 0-)

      1) Juneau libraries are hosting community reading of Shakespeare this week (Bardathon)

      2) State library in Juneau hosts French conversation class and town library in Glennallen joins in, using OWL video conferencing set up.
       

      "If I’m wanting what I don’t have, I’ve got to do what I ain’t done” from the song “First Light. by Grant Dermody 2010

      by RosyFinch on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:16:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Guess I'm lucky living on the best coast (28+ / 0-)

    Multnomah County Library

    According to the Public Library Association, it ranks second among U.S. libraries, based on circulation of books and materials, and ranks first among libraries serving fewer than one million residents. In this respect, it is the busiest in the nation.
    Central Library

    Central Library, Portland

    Four books to return, one on hold ready to pick up.

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 10:25:37 AM PST

    •  ^ (5+ / 0-)

      "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

      by BOHICA on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 10:26:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But now for the rest of the story (0+ / 0-)

      Originally the Multnomah County Library was an odd private-public venture: it was run for the county by a private non-profit group called the Library Association of Portland. One could argue this was a good thing in the old days when local politics were amazingly corrupt, but by the 1970s & 1980s the LAP was doing a mediocre to poor job -- the library staff unionized & staged a series of one-day strikes for better wages & working conditions -- & forced to turn things over to the county in 1990. Not before one of the trusties made an unsuccessful attempt to grab control of its endowment, of course.

      In other words, the library system here improved once the government took control from the private sector.

      Further, the County Library is one of the few government functions whose funding measures routinely pass. (Yes, even in the People's Republic of Portland, school levy measures have failed.) It's much easier to run a quality service when one has a steady income source, amazing to say.

      And certain parts of Portland get better service than others. The yuppies in Northwest Portland managed to successfully lobby for their own branch, despite the fact NW are a little more more than a mile -- definitely walking distance -- from the Central Library, & that most of Multnomah County East of the Willamette River is over a mile from the closest branch. (When I lived in Northeast Portland, I was two miles from the nearest branch -- definitely more than walking distance.)

      But I wish more of the US had library service as good as what I have.

  •  Boy, this is the question of the decade: (10+ / 0-)
    My question to you Mr or Mrs Progressive America, just how far back in time will you let the haters take us?
    We saw how quickly they stomped on the neck of Occupy because it was on the right track.  It needs to rise again, and I believe it will.  Maybe not exactly the same way, but as more and more people are being crushed by these neoliberal tactics, I believe it will happen.  

    People eventually reach their breaking point.

    If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

    by livjack on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 10:29:34 AM PST

  •  Don't forget what's happening in Kentucky (9+ / 0-)

    With the teabagger lawsuits to try to defund library districts.

    Scary stuff.

    Yes we can! Yes we did! Yes we will!

    by Sister Havana on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 10:35:03 AM PST

  •  When we moved to this small, very conservative, (22+ / 0-)

    town in the Mojave Desert, I volunteered at the local branch of the county library. I became the head of the Friends of the Library when the state cut our funding by $12,000, causing our branch to close one day a week.

    At our first meeting we had 200 people show up. Within three months we raised $17,000. And that money was all in small amounts, I think our largest donation was $300. We kept the library open six days a week.

    This is a town of retirees and transient marines and those who can't afford to live elsewhere. There is not much money here, but what there was was given freely to support our local library.

  •  This is not Louisiana (11+ / 0-)

    The Louisiana governor is an idiot but the outlook for libraries isn't bleak everywhere.

    In Massachusetts the libraries are thriving.  Of course we have kept up with the times and offer lots of public computers and access to ebooks.  The children's section is especially active.

    Here on Cape Cod in the past few years there have been upgrades and additions to many libraries both large and small, and at least four completely new buildings have been constructed.

    We have had many European students working here for the summer who marvel at our many services and inter-library loan functions.  They can't believe that it's all free and yes, they can apply for a card.

    •  You have to watch out for Proposition 2 1/2. (4+ / 0-)

      For you non-Bay Staters that is a law that forbids towns from raising their tax levy more than 2.5% in a given year absent a local override.

      Back in 1992 my town voted down a proposed override which resulted in closing the library for six months and rendering library cards from my town invalid at most other area libraries.  On the upside, we voted in 2002 to expand the library using a debt exclusion rather than an override.  I am proud that we won with 55% of the vote since yours truly was the chair of that campaign.

      •  Our town got around prop 2-1/2 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sister Havana, 4Freedom

        With annual or biennial revaluations of properties. Property "values" went up, and those "more valuable" properties were taxed at the same 2.5%. They did it for years, until a law was passed to reduce the allowed frequency. Then the town became a "go-to" bedroom community for households of dual-professional couples, became stuffed with mcmansions, and has had property taxes skyrocket as the mcmansions yank the property values ever skyward.

    •  The Cape library system is fantastic. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cjfb

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

      by willyr on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 04:34:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  To cjfb - Thank you for posting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      Our readers can derive a lot of hope from your post that there are communities still out there like yours, where the citizens are active enough to ensure that the politicians understand they value their libraries as a public good. Of course the maintenance of that public good requires internal vigilance. We must never let down our guard down and we must try to encourage people by the continued examples of library success in communities like yours. Thank you for sharing your story with our readers. It is much valued. Thank you also for your support of library issues.

      You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:05:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  “Just the opposite,” said Susan Benton, (14+ / 0-)
    Such plans might shock anyone who thought that in the digital age, libraries — those hushed sanctuaries of the past — had gone the way of the Postal Service.

    “Just the opposite,” said Susan Benton, president and chief executive of the Urban Libraries Council. “Physical visits and virtual visits are off the charts.”

    At Boston’s central library alone, the number of physical visits jumped to 1.72 million in 2013, up by almost half a million from 2012.

    Library usage has increased across the country for a variety of reasons, librarians say, including the recession, the availability of new technology and because libraries have been reimagining themselves — a necessity for staying relevant as municipal budgets are slashed and e-books are on the rise. Among the more innovative is the Chicago Public Library, which offers a free Maker Lab, with access to 3-D printers, laser cutters and milling machines. The Lopez Island Library in Washington State offers musical instruments for checkout. In upstate New York, the Library Farm in Cicero, part of the Northern Onondaga Public Library,  lends out plots of land on which patrons can learn organic growing practices.

    Along with their new offerings, libraries are presenting a dramatically more open face to the outside world, using lots of glass, providing comfortable seating, as much for collaborative work as solitary pursuits, and allowing food and drink.

    “This is what’s happening at a lot of libraries, the creation of an open, physical environment,” said Joe Murphy, a librarian and library futures consultant based in Reno, Nev. “The idea of being inviting isn’t just to boost attendance but to maximize people’s creativity.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

    by Inland on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 11:01:19 AM PST

    •  Wouldn't it be great (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elizaveta, Nespolo, ybruti, catadromous

      if libraries turned into centers of the new sharing economy. Love the tool libraries and the musical instrument libraries. How about audiovisual equipment rental to produce your own podcasts and videocasts.

      •  Find us the $. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cai, T Maysle

        I proposed having a soundproof room installed in our to-be-remodeled library for use as a music/film creation/editing space--total cost around $25K out of a remodel budget surpassing a dozen million $. Instantly rejected for lack of funding; the entire remodel budget was already stretched to its limit (we won't even be getting a sorely needed HVAC upgrade/refit.)

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 03:19:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The public library and the U.S. postal service. (16+ / 0-)

    Republicans are out to destroy them because public libraries and the U.S. postal service actually work and thereby disprove  the notion that the antichrist made popular in the 1980s, "Government IS the problem."

    And there is almost NO leadership from Democrats on this.

    It's pretty sickening.

    Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

    by expatjourno on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 11:18:07 AM PST

  •  I consider the library to be more than (14+ / 0-)

    a place of books, it is a job help center, a place where local groups can put on displays and shows for the public,( I went to one presented by an opera expert and learned about Verdi's Riggoletto) It is to me a TEMPLE OF KNOWLEDGE, more sacred than a church. Those who are trying to destroy the library are nothing more than modern day barbarians who burnt down the Library of Alexandria and plunged the world in darkness. I despise these Teabaggers and their fundie Christian allies, plus their 1% enablers who are the ones who benefit from a ignorant and poor population.

    One does not simply walk into Mordor! One invites a gas driller in, and one’s land becomes Mordor. Chris From Balloon Juice

    by Mr Stagger Lee on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 11:46:49 AM PST

  •  I can't imagine life without libraries. (10+ / 0-)

    I learned how to read when I was three.  I utilized the school library from grade school all through high school.  I remember checking out twenty or more books at a time.  In middle & high school I served as a library aide, and my very first real job, at the ripe old age of 16, was as a page at the library in my hometown.  (Best job I ever had, too, despite being paid only minimum wage. Hour-long, paid lunch?  Most of my jobs as an adult didn't have that perk.)

    Were it not for the opportunities to visit the library, I can only imagine what would have become of me.  My family was so poor, there is no way we could have afforded all of that reading material.  Growing up, we only had maybe fifty books in the house.  Without a library, my learning would have been so stunted.  Almost certainly I would not have gone onto college.

    Andrew Carnegie, for all of his flaws (he believed that the elite of society should make all the decisions for the masses), did bequeath this institution to us.  It is a curious legacy, considering his background, but one for which I am eternally grateful.

  •  As a librarian myself (18+ / 0-)

    Almost all of the job openings available today are in blue states.  Here out west, this would include CA, OR, WA, CO (where I am), and NM (relative to its low population).  That says something.  The local public library near us (I don't work there, alas) is always packed, and most of the patrons are low-and-middle income users.  The public library, like the post office, is Ben Franklin's legacy.  Defunding them is fundamentally anti-American, and losing them will negatively impact our lives, profoundly and forever.  Jindal, along with his Republican and neo-liberal fellow-travellers, are all pieces of shit.  That's all there is to it.

    Col. Brandt: "What do you think we'll do when we lose the war?" Capt. Kiesel: "Prepare for the next one." --from "Cross of Iron"

    by ConservatismSuxx on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:03:28 PM PST

  •  Who uses the library anymore? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    potato

    And the historical trends on it....

  •  Sacramento County (4+ / 0-)

    Sacramento County votes republican and dislikes anything with public in the name.  They began defunding public systems with their scam Proposition 13 in 1978 that gave money to commercial property owners who wrote the bill.  The public not only missed the joke, they made the writer, Howard Jarvis, into a saint like they did Reagan.  We began seeing the effects in all public programs.  Our local library began raising money even though the President of the group did not believe in tax payer money for libraries.  After all these years we provide a significant amount of money and have worked out the problems with the professional librarians who felt dealing with volunteers was extra work.  Now a senior my library is a major source of pleasure for me the reader who can no longer afford to buy books.

  •  I have a Nook and fortunately (4+ / 0-)

    I can access free Ebooks through three online services, two of them are provided by local libraries. There are waiting lists for popular titles but while waiting I can read classics available from the Gutenberg project.

    http://ncdl.lib.overdrive.com/...

    http://www.aclibrary.org

    http://www.gutenberg.org

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:53:47 PM PST

  •  Thanks for libraries and this diary (9+ / 0-)

    When I think of all the wonderful things I discovered wandering around libraries, from the great public libraries in New York City, to college and university libraries, things that made me who I am, that changed my life, to hear that this experience is going to be withheld from anyone is profoundly saddening.  Dammit, it is civilization itself that is in question here - the place we keep what is precious to us all, what we have created and discovered over thousands of years and millions of lives, and free for anyone to explore. No matter what may be outside the doors in the library we are all equal, all come to learn and discover. A crying shame if we cannot afford to maintain even these last beacons, last islands, of civilization safe from the stupid and the evil.

    Bold at inappropriate times. Mediocre at best.

    by steep rain on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:53:52 PM PST

  •  Re your title (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    serendipityisabitch

    Public school still exist.

    •  And maybe I need a refresher: 'schools' n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  to Elwood - your post is well taken (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      that public schools are a valued socialized good serving the children of our communities. Libraries however are a different type of social good. Accessible year round, not only to children but also persons of all ages, all backgrounds all the time, and this broad mission to be accessible to everyone where in a clear case that everyone is treated completely equally. It doesn't matter if it is the mayor or a homeless area resident, everyone is entitled to the same level of service all the time, and it is this historic mission and this level of accessibility and service that makes the library a unique institution unto itself in America, and in fact the last best, truly completely socialized institution, the mission which is to provide in so far as it can complete accessibility and equal treatment for all. It is this that is threatened, the loss of which will change our communities, and the nation forever, which is the scope of this diary. Thank you for the great question.

      You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:13:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  San Jose doing the Same, w/ Dem mayor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    Let's say that you're the Dem mayor of a Midwest town.  You've already increased the property tax rate, from 1.5% to 2% of market value.  You've increased the regressive sales tax, and working-class people are paying 40% more for public parking than they did in 2005.

    But the numbers still don't square.  Pension fund expenditures are crowding out spending on other public services.

    What do you do?

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 01:00:44 PM PST

    •  Gotta go where the money is. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llywrch

      Property taxes are least regressive. Business fees will theoretically drive biz next door, but houses will stay put. The true answer is not to have the answer lie this locally. More money in the federal government to flow downward to states and then municipalities. Abandoning states and municipalities to their own devices--a Republican/libertarian dream for a long, long time--means eventual bankruptcy and decay, because some things cost more than the locales can afford, but not more than the nation requires to maintain civilization.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 03:25:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Keep 'em iggerant is the reactionaries' (0+ / 0-)

    war-cry. The less they know and the fewer things they know about the easier is it to push long discredited ideas and irrational mythologies.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 01:34:51 PM PST

  •  Libraries in NYC are being dismantled (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SouthernLiberalinMD, cai

    by underfunding in the drive to sell the real estate and raise skyscrapers. The City does not have the  public libraries in the regular budget. Even the main public library, the historic , has been under siege by wealthy designers who plan to dismantle and make it a coffee shop atmosphere.

    •  Byr to enrich themselves they'll impoverish us all (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SuWho, RiveroftheWest

      The thing about a public good that we have to remember is there will always be people out there who in attempts to enrich themselves will see fit to impoverish us all, and this must be categorically resisted by us taking ownership of the public good which is the library, and acting like owners of that public good in the defense of what is our collective property. This means that we have to speak out, shout out and step out in faith first to organize, because there is always strength in numbers. To write to everyone who will listen starting with letters to the editor, to every politician, every newspaper, every radio station all the time. Some people want to organize lawful peaceful protests make press statements, organize media events, draw attention to the robber baron antics whose intent is to steal the American birthright to read, which in accordance with the American Library Association's freedom to read statement stems directly from the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

      What these people are doing by robbing us so as to enrich themselves is nothing less than un-American, it is anti-family values, anti-community and pro-greed. If we sit back and allow them to rob us they will certainly do so. Because these people are always parasitically happy to bankrupt us so as to enrich themselves. This must be peacefully resisted at every turn and without fail.  

      You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:23:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why the HELL (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Democrats Ramshield

    are schools graduating illiterate students? If they cannot read, they damn sure should not graduate, nor be promoted to the next grade. I'm all for them re taking the third grade till they are 20, if they won't learn.

    •  Many, many reasons. (0+ / 0-)

      Let's see, more students failing = more students in school (if they stay in class.) "More students in school" requires more money.
      Federal education goals (read: NCLB) demand a constant improvement in performance (no failing students) or federal funding gets stripped.
      Students requiring more teaching (for whatever reasons) to attain/maintain grade level requires more teachers/assistants, requiring more money.
      Sensing the pressure and the rationale yet?

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 03:30:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wouldn't want to harm their self-esteem (0+ / 0-)

      by forcing them to face the reality of failure and its consequences, would we? Social promotion is the rule here. It's blindingly idiotic and ultimately cruel to children, but it makes life oh so easy for schools and parents.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:35:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Iryman your right American school are failing too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      many kids. We can and must do better. Thanks for the post.

      You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 04:32:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Libraries are the foundation and pinnacle (0+ / 0-)

    of society, in my opinion. At least of civilizations based on literacy.

    So I'm in full support of most of this diary.

    Still, this...

    My question to you Mr or Mrs Progressive America, just how far back in time will you let the haters take us?
    Well.

    I'm open to suggestions.

    I have a few suggestions myself, or the beginnings of suggestions, but every time I make them, people laugh. Or snort. :-)

    Sure once I was young and impulsive, I wore every conceivable pin. Even went to socialist meetings, learned all the old union hymns. Ah, but I've grown older and wiser. And that's why I'm turning you in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u52Oz-54VYw

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 04:31:01 PM PST

  •  Libraries were a sanctuary for a kid like me and (10+ / 0-)

    even in the army, I used to love to go to the base library in Panama (air conditioned, too) most Sunday mornings and catch up on the newspapers and magazines. I could briefly be out of the army and feel like a civilian again.

    I wouldn't trade my library experiences for anything, and I even loved the smell of libraries when I was a kid; it was there I fell in love with dinosaurs and nature books. When I was about eleven I had a crush on a young librarian, too!

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 04:40:39 PM PST

    •  Computers, electronics, trains, aviation, radio (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires, Val, Wildthumb

      controlled planes, history, foreign lands, adventures, stories--the latest copy of Rolling Stone--my youth is inseparable from my local library branch.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:29:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, I almost forgot (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Val, Wildthumb

      The library at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, that let me stay connected to my American self while visiting family during the summer. First VCR I ever used was there. They had a collection of documentaries I loved to watch. I'm sure that the world over one of the best things about embassies is their libraries. Plus the lady who stamps your passport and the Marine guard out front.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:32:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Libraries in most places (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skybluewater, politically indigo

    ...are city and county institutions.  State and a little federal library funding have never been significant parts of library budgets.  The problem is that counties and cities and bought into the no-new-taxes theme even stronger than state and federal governments.

    But in most states, counties and cities are constrained by state laws in their ability to raise taxes.  And constrained by matching fund formulas on other programs that in effect mandate a certain amount of local expenditures for roads, schools, or other programs.

    We need a movement for local home rule as much as we do defensive programs for the institutions that help learning.

    In the Reagan years librarians has a poster that said: "People can survive times of many libraries and no money better than they can money and no libraries."

    That is still true.  But too many libraries waste money and shelf space on "popular" books by the likes of Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, and even their counterparts on the Democratic side.  And many libraries in their "marketing" genius have remaindered off standard works that used to provide a little cultural continuity in America.  The purchases of individual librarians for their libraries that counter this trend are noticeable and welcome; I suspect that it is library administration's "marketing" emphasis that is the culprit.  Not to mention heavy political pressure in some locations.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 04:41:28 PM PST

    •  The lagacy of Andrew Carnegie (3+ / 0-)

      He did a lot of great philanthropic work in his day (and some not so nice things), but the legacy he established of privatized non-profit public institutions has got to go. Libraries, like education, health care and the internet, and really all core public utilities, have got to be socialized.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:27:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not just far-right politics and ideology (3+ / 0-)

    It's neoliberal politics and ideology, which turns every virtue in to a monetized commodity. Here in Queens, NY, the library system, while slowly being upgraded, suffers from a lack of books in good condition, has a web site that feels like it hasn't been updated since 1997, and a CEO who makes nearly half a million dollars, recently authorized the spending of hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate his office, including a smoking deck, and has another job paying another grand or two on Long Island.

    He claims that there's no overlap in time spent on each job, and that he regularly puts in 120 or more hours a week between the two. Even if this was true, and of course it's not, it would mean that he's unable to do either job well, because NO ONE can work 120 hours a week on a regular basis and do good work. Even if you work 7 days a week, that's less than 7 hours left over for commuting, shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning, showering and sleeping. Even if he has 5 maids and a chauffeur there's no way he can manage that.

    We're being fleeced by a generation of entitled professional MBA CEOs who are good at one thing and one thing only, which is playing the role of high-paid CEO. If they're so great at what they do, how come the country's falling apart?

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:23:38 PM PST

  •  Libraries (0+ / 0-)

    Ha!  being able to sign my name to get a library card was also the dodge my parents used to get me to learn to write my name!
    I live in Oak Park, Illinois.  Oak Park is pretty blue -went for BHO 4-1 in the last 2 presidential elections.  There are some pretty affluent areas in OP, but a bunch of smaller houses and apartment buildings in the village.  The library system is very important to the village -we built a new library 10  years ago, and remodeled the other 2 branches, too.The last couple of library bond issues for the library were approved with little debate. I consider ourselves pretty lucky, as some of the other suburbs don't have the support for their libraries that OP does.  Over 80% of the residents of Oak Park have library cards. When the new libary was built, a number of spaces were built for things like internet access.  We also have meeting spaces for groups in the village. OP uses the Overdrive e-book system, and they're adding more all the time.   The OPPL has very wide support in the village.

  •  Library in Santa Monica, CA is doing fine, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch

    even has a well-maintained satellite branch for those who can't be bothered to cross the 10 freeway. New book releases, computers, and fast internet. Also regular screenings in the auditorium. It also has an excellent coffee shop on premises. The library is packed every day that I go there, and sometimes I can't even find a seat open.

    About the only aspect that isn't updated regularly is the dvd collection, which is understandable considering the industry's penchant for format changes every few years.

    Our library isn't going anywhere. We vote in people who care about that sort of thing.

    As a side note, libraries aren't the last socialized institutions. Police, Fire departments, NASA, schools...are all still here.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 05:49:42 PM PST

  •  Beg the question? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VelvetElvis, serendipityisabitch

    Perhaps a graduate level librarian should know how to use this expression correctly?

    •  you're 8th comment at kos is about that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharon Wraight

      This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

      by certainot on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 06:21:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If I'd seen it when I first came here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch

        it would have been one of my first comments.

        If even our librarians aren't properly educated, what the fuck is wrong with us?

        We want to build cyber magicians!

        by VelvetElvis on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 11:06:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  maybe the librarian was in a hurry or had a few (0+ / 0-)

          beers or was wondering who would actually complain about such a trivial thing

          This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

          by certainot on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 11:37:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As far as who would complain about it . . . (0+ / 0-)

            somebody with a philosophy degree who's had the meanings of formal logical fallacies driven into their brain.

            Seeing it misused is really painful.

            We want to build cyber magicians!

            by VelvetElvis on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 03:06:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Mark Liberman's discussion of "beg the question" (0+ / 0-)

              is here, in response to a question from Macy Halford, copy editor and book reviewer at The New Yorker. (Liberman is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at U Penn.)

              You can see that this is true by looking at how the phrase is used, even in well-edited sources. For example, if we search the NYT index for recent uses of "beg the question", we find that out of the first 20 hits, 15 use "beg the question" to mean "raise the question" — and of the five that don't, four are usage articles berating people for misusing the phrase! Turning to the broader and more erratically edited range of material indexed by Google News, a check of the first 50 of the 127 current hits for "beg the question" turns up 49 instances meaning "raise the question" — and one lonely usage column...
              His conclusion:
              If you use the phrase to mean "raise the question", some pedants will silently dismiss you as a dunce, while others will complain loudly, thus distracting everyone else from whatever you wanted to say. If you complain about others' "misuse", you come across as an annoying pedant. And if you use the phrase to mean "assume the conclusion", almost no one will understand you.

              My recommendation: Never use the phrase yourself — use "assume the conclusion" or "raise the question", depending on what you mean — and cultivate an attitude of serene detachment in the face of its use by others.

              So long as they don't start affirming the consequent... ;-)
    •  I thought the same thing. (0+ / 0-)

      it's a pet peeve of mine

      We want to build cyber magicians!

      by VelvetElvis on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 11:05:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  ...& the first step towards American Independence (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Val

    by the most senior of the American Founding Fathers and the largest single influence on early American identity:

    (The fact that this project was started only 39 years, rather than a more-biblical 40 years, before the 1776 Declaration of Independence just goes to show you that new generations tend to be less patient than their predecessors).

    In 1727, Benjamin Franklin, then 21, created the Junto, a group of "like minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community."
    ...books were rare and expensive. The members created a library, initially assembled from their own books. This did not suffice, however. Franklin conceived the idea of a subscription library, which would pool the funds of the members to buy books for all to read.
    Library Company of Philadelphia ... charter was composed by Franklin in 1731. In 1732, Franklin hired the first American librarian, Louis Timothee.
    All quotes from this Wikidedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/...
  •  Biggest users of public libraries in Hong Kong are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    politically indigo

    ... students whose homes are too small and distracting to be good places to concentrate on studying.

    Studying alongside others (in a quiet place) probably helps these students feel less oppressed by study requirements and more socially connected.

  •  THEY... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom

    Whoever they may be, prefer an ignorant populance.  Mistakenly, they think a dumb mob is easier to control!

    "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

    by dharmasyd on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 06:14:34 PM PST

  •  ALEC stink tanks lead the way in defunding and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, llywrch

    privatizing and they will continue to succeed until as long as their best weapon- rw radio- keeps getting a free speech free ride from the left.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 06:26:13 PM PST

  •  I remember the days, going with my Dad (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Square Knot, Sister Havana

    to the local main library to check out LP's (this was '70's Britain).

    We would have to bring in his phono cartridge every once in a while for inspection, so that the records wouldn't be damaged.

    He chose most of the recordings, but gave me some latitude.  I convinced him once into borrowing a recording of symphonies by Gluck.

    Suffice to say, we both decided that Gluck's operas are very much better.

    And we weren't fans of Gluck's operas.

    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

    by Bollox Ref on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 06:38:48 PM PST

  •  I would rec and tip 1,000,000 times if I could (3+ / 0-)

    Everything comes down to this, do we educate our kids and let them read or do we condemn then to live in ignorance?

    Why should we trust anyone who "lies for the Lord"?

    by Blue Bell Bookworm on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 06:41:23 PM PST

  •  Libraries are awesome (7+ / 0-)

    Particularly with the expanded interlibrary loans and online journal access.  Our small local library will get you any book in print on loan from another library, usually within a week or so.  It's amazing.

    As a kid, I remember one summer reading through every book in the children's section.  I would check out 20 books at a time...it would leave a whole shelf empty.  The librarians were bemused and a bit unnerved.  Sometimes my mom and I would feed quarters into a very, very early computer and play super-simple computer games.  I also lent my own books out to my friends all the time, because I thought the greatest thing ever would be to grow up and have my own lending library.

    Last year, I researched and wrote an entire graduate-level paper for a seminar, exclusively using resources obtained through the local public library.

    Every time a library-related measure comes up for a funding vote, I vote for it.

    I think some Republicans hate libraries because they promote knowledge, free sharing of knowledge (very small-d democratic), and building of community.

  •  It's not all bad (0+ / 0-)

    Out here in Cathy McMorris country, our libraries get great support from the community. Library bonds are regularly passed by comfortable margins. Yes, a large proportion of the patrons at the branch where I work are religious and conservative, but they love their public library and are very tolerant of the wide variety of materials we put on our shelves, from Amish romance to Samhain steamers, from Christianity Today to The Advocate. Libraries aren't dead yet. Not by a long shot.

  •  Remember a physical library building too please. (0+ / 0-)

    Our library acts as a neutral space in town where our community room hosts everything from reptile shows to baby showers to political meetings and even a temporary home for a Saturday morning church that needed space for a while.

    The First Amendment also calls for the Right to Peaceably Assemble, and I think "the library" needs to protect this part of it too.

    Far more than just a cache of books, your local library comes with people who can figure out what book it was that you were trying to describe but couldn't think of. But we also can find all kinds of information or sources for you of the most personal nature that you might not be able to ask anyone else, but we'll keep it confidential for you. And at least at our little library, the State Library came in and gave us advice about how to handle the U.S.A.P.A.T.I.O.T. Act. So we don't keep any records that the FBI might want...

    The number one reason for having a brick & mortar building and not just a cyber-library is that the first thing people do when they lose a job and cut back finances is stop paying the cable bill.  Our public computers provide access to job applications and a place to file your unemployment claims, our staff can help, and we've even let people use the phone. Plus, just walking to the library is taking a small stand against the depression that comes to the unemployed.

    We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

    by nuclear winter solstice on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 08:16:01 PM PST

  •  I love books (0+ / 0-)

    I am in total agreement about the importance of libraries, although I believe they are on the verge of undergoing a fundamental change.  Books in print is headed out.   I say this sadly, because I have a whole wall of them, and it's far less nerve-wracking to take a bath with a paperback book, then with a "tablet".  I occasionally drop the book, but then I'm only out a few bucks, and some of them do dry out.   I don't mind too much if they are lumpy and a bit yellow.  The story is still fantastic!  :)  

    It's a problem though, because the new books, digital books, are more expensive.  There are no "used" books with those.   And, that's where I got most of my vast experience with books as a young person.   Buying and selling at the used paperback store.

    Libraries do more than just have books, though. One of the most important things they do is provide social opportunities for children of various ages and help with reading.   We need more of that in our society -- unaffiliated with schools and churches, because here is more news about how the world is changing.  There are more home-schooled kids, and more people who are unafilliated with churches.  And, those kids need good environments where they can go and interact with other children.

    On the statistics about juvenile court and libraries, though, there is more to the picture.

    Over 50% of the youth in the juvenile justice system suffer from diagnosable mental illness & fully half that number have serious multiple diagnosis
    The thing about addressing mental health in children is not just about whatever crimes they might commit.   The biggest thing about addressing mental health in children, is what happens to their children.  If you can help one child, you might save generations of children.  Just as you can prevent illiteracy in generations of children by teaching one person to read.
    Almost all youth in the juvenile justice system have passed through child protection services (MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz).

    Over 70% of the serious and violent crime committed by juveniles in Ramsey County in the year of the ACE study, was perpetrated by youth from less than 4% of the families in the county.

    All those numbers really start to paint a picture of generational problems.   A kid with mental illness, possibly with a parent with mental illness because that's often where it comes from, in a home where CPS has to have been called.  Illiterate.  Possibly with parents who are illiterate, because there's where illiteracy often comes from.    

    Here's one that really hits home, on the subject of libraries...

    Another study concluded that inmates have a 16 percent chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70 percent for those who receive no help. This equates, according to the study, to taxpayer costs of $25,000 per year per inmate and nearly double that amount for juvenile offenders.
    It seems like all that money should be more than enough to pay for a few libraries.
  •  Libraries have been a home away from home (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dclawyer06, Democrats Ramshield

    throughout my lifetime.

    But the internet has replaced much of my previous time in libraries. As a small town Vermont resident, when I'm researching, two to three weeks is too long to wait for a source. That puts me online, and into some of the extensive online research libraries available.

    It is the bricks and mortar library, however, that will get me the next in the series I'm reading at no expense. To me, the library is still an irreplaceable resource, despite the wealth of online offerings. And there is nothing like the book in hand to flip through pages and index to find a correct source.

    De-funding libraries removes an essential resource for many. I may enjoy the access being online brings, but it is no substitute for library resources.

    Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations. ~ George Orwell

    by 4Freedom on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 08:55:28 PM PST

    •  to 4Freedom - bibliometric studies show (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, RiveroftheWest

      that people find deep reading difficult from a computer screen, probably because most of us have been raised with books. The other issue is that there is too much information available online and therefore most relevant information is inaccessible, because it is buried under tons of irrelevant information. So much so that you can never get completely usually to the most relevant and pertinent information on point. Google for all its miracles was put together in a short number of years.

      Whereas for example the National Library of Medicine in its information nodes thoughtfully took over 50 years to construct, this is a huge difference. That is why we need libraries and librarians to organize information, and while lots of people think and are happy with the information they have, often this proves only to be the case because they don't know what they are not getting. Once they know what they're not getting, then dissatisfaction sets in. They leave their online access and come to the library where information is better organized professionally,and it is always possible to receive professional assistance in locating still further information.

      Libraries are a blessing and a value that our communities must continue to support or will most certainly diminish us all, because the library is nothing less than a depository of anyone who has ever thought or written. The idea of being excluded from this is unthinkable. The consequences of it as the diary that I've written points out are terrible. Please consider to support your local libraries for yourselves, for your children, for your communities and for the future of America.

      You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 12:33:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We support our local libraries. Our son was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        raised in one, and reading and learning is a life-long passion to this family.

        My husband is a self-taught geologist, who used to read masters' theses for the head of our major state university's geology department. The papers he needs to research contain maps and charts that he has to lay out to compare. Only a library has needed resources.

        We need our public libraries. The thought of de-funding them is an affront to education and civilization.

        Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations. ~ George Orwell

        by 4Freedom on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 02:57:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Then I am a happy statistic (0+ / 0-)

        I looove books.  I love the feel and the smell of them - different inks, different papers, slight must of age and all.  My wife is convinced I am thoroughly insane, when I actually open to the middle of a book, as I still do on occasion, bury my face in it and inhale....

        I also find it impossible to do any serious reading on a tablet or e-reader: interaction with the text is far too cumbersome. I have a fair sized library of titles, mostly academic history, plus philosophy, art, poetry, novels. I have extensively glossed many of these, making them far more valuable to me than what I paid for them.  

  •  Well -- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch, dclawyer06

    I live in a county that hasn't voted D for president since before FDR. Not once. Our surrounding rural counties (we do border King County in WA too) are similar. Most of the small towns in those counties participate in our regional library system. Most have up-to-date facilities.

    We live near a town with a year-round population of about 3,000 and a median income will below national, or King County, levels.

    Our local library was housed in a old elementary school - basically a two-room school - that was becoming too small. The local Masonic Hall was being abandoned (apparently Masonry isn't a big deal here anymore). The city council agreed to buy the hall for a new library for $500,000 if the "Friends of the Library" could raise $168,000 in 5 years to refurbish it.

    In 6 months, they raised over $300,000. When asbestos was discovered in the building's attic, the city council stuck with its commitment and paid another $50K for abatement.

    The new library opened last fall and it's beautiful. It has a huge area with a small stage for the reading programs put on for younger kids (there's even a program for infants). It has a separate room for computers, a reading room with a fireplace, and even an expanded section related to local genealogy. And like most modern library systems, we have an online catalog and extensive inter-library loan system within our regional libraries. I can almost always find what I want - and I have a wide range of interests - and if I can't, I can suggest they order it, which they often will.

    I don't think we're "about to lose it " even here in redneck country. What's going to happen in places like Louisiana I couldn't say, and don't really care. I'm tired of worrying about people in places like that suffering because they get what they voted for.

    My daughter is a MLIS student and will graduate this spring. Her interests are more in the area of digital humanities than traditional libraries, but she has applications out to, and has had some interviews with, some pretty impressive university libraries that are redefining what libraries are and what they do.

    No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by badger on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 08:58:05 PM PST

  •  Jindal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Democrats Ramshield, dclawyer06

    can't afford to have constituency that knows how to think... if they can think clearly they would never allow him near the levers of power in Louisiana.

    "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:42:50 PM PST

  •  Mayor Nutter apologizes... (0+ / 0-)

    ...for his worst decision.

    Calling library closings the "absolute worst decision" in his 20 years in elected office, Mayor Nutter took time in his budget address Thursday to apologize for the cuts he made in 2008.

    City Council "was right on this issue . . . and I've been determined to correct my mistake ever since," Nutter said after proposing a $2.5 million increase for the Free Library.

    The new funding would let the library system hire 43 people and keep all neighborhood libraries open six days a week. Since the 2008 budget cuts, most of the branch libraries have been open only five days.

    The two closest branches to me, Kensington right next door to the York-Dauphin El, and the Fishtown branch on Montgomery, are at least open every weekday.  McPherson Square's Carnegie Library is open Saturdays.  All these branches would expand hours and days under his current proposal.

    Central Library is open seven days a week, the internet rooms for job seekers and new-English-speakers are constantly packed, and there's always a line outside Independence Branch prior to opening.

    The people of Philadelphia have spoken as to what we will do when 'they' try to come for our libraries, and we will soon have won.  I'm sure at least a few other cities have experienced the same.

    Somewhat slightly less negativity would help a bit, if you ask me.  It may be fashionable in certain quarters to paint the US as a dark corner of the world with little to no hope for the future, but this just isn't true.

  •  I think I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

    Socialism, like capitalism, refers to how our assets and resources are use, not necessarily by whom they are owned. That's why, for example, China has been quite able to practice capitalism, setting aside surplus and profit for future use, even though ownership is largely in the hands of the state, a public corporation.
    Certainly, U.S. public libraries are used communally. But so are public parks, public highways, public schools, public universities, public hospitals and nature preserves, to mention just a few.
    The real distinction we have to make is between private and public ownership, recognizing that private ownership is exclusive. That is private property rights exclude non-owners from using a particular resource or asset.
    As George W. Bush rightly observed, "the U. S. is an ownership society." Like Esau in the Bible, we have sold our birthright (human rights) for a mess of porridge.
    That the native American populations did not have a concept of land ownership and agreed to share resources on the basis of an exchange of trinkets ($24 worth) has always been cited as an example of a lack of sophistication, inplying that they should have known the Europeans would strip the land and seek to expel the original inhabitants. After all, isn't that what the Vandals and Barbarians and Goths did in Europe?

    Vandalism is the mode of the human predator; destruction without a creative purpose. For which a sale for profit is a less immoral alternative. Taking things to market is less wasteful. (Selling natural gas as a fuel is less wasteful than burning it off, as the oil men used to do, and we're supposed to consider it an improvement). Ownership is supposed to make people less wasteful, but it turns out that some people, instead of using what they can claim as their own, are quite content to destroy their own with wanton abandon. Ownership does not guarantee good use.

    http://hannah.smith-family.com

    by hannah on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 05:58:56 AM PDT

  •  Libraries are swell! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    We are working on a plan to increase state funding for library services here. We had a strategy meeting yesterday and will spend the next year working on the language for the bill and on bringing together the geographic mix of support that will be necessary to pass the bill next year.

    This is a delicate endeavor because state funding for libraries is mostly bonding for construction and library advocates are nervous about anything that might somehow impact that. We are being quite careful in our approach, but even with Democratic control of both houses and the Governor's Office, increasing funding is difficult.

    I will try to find time to do a dairy on the policy aspects of our work.

  •  Thank-you! (2+ / 0-)

    This children's librarian thanks you, DR. My small community library is a vital resource for local homeschooling families. We are also one of the very few places where kids with developmental issues and their workers can come and spend time after school.

    The adults use our free public computers to apply for jobs and/or unemployment and to create resumes.

    Whenever I hear someone advocating against libraries, I can only imagine they have never used one for anything or have forgotten how they've benefited from them.

    "They say that time can be measured by the length of Thomas Friedman’s moustache." - Wingnut hate mail author.

    by Plox on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 07:43:40 AM PDT

    •  To Plox bless you for all your hard work. :-) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      I know only too well the position you are in in America today in your library, and ones like it from coast to coast, given the conservative Tea Party mindset and mentality. Libraries are basically in a pushed to the wall fight to the finish for its very survival and the Tea Party take no prisoners, that's for sure so this will really be a fight to the finish, and we must prevail. Not just the library but America as we've come to know it is at stake.

      The want their country back alright, all the way back to before women's rights, the civil rights' movement, right back to the era of censorship. Albeit now through economic censorship, which clearly is the most insidious kind of censorship of all because it blames the victim that it creates for not being able to fend for themselves. As librarians we are trained to resist censorship in all of its guises and to espouse intellectual freedom, which we know the ALA (American Library Association) enshrines in its freedom to read statement. This comes straight from our first amendment rights as enshrined in the US Constitution. Sticking up for our libraries means that we are therefore defenders of the US Constitution.

      Cutting library budgets is anti-American and anti-family values. Ergo the call to activism and here we must all stick together, or we will all most certainly fall apart. Ergo unite in our library fight. Smile!

      You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 07:53:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank goodness I live in a civilized state, NJ, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dclawyer06, RiveroftheWest

    where the local library seems to be as heavily used as every, with no staff, hours, or acquisition cutbacks.

  •  Information for me, but not for thee.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    Thanks for writing this, DemRam.
    We should subsidize our library system and give every child in the nation an [updated] library card at the start of each school year, usable at his local branch.

    And we should encourage the whole family to attend, with social services available(parenting classes), tutoring, nutrition, fitness(yoga for poor people, imagine). Real places for lifelong learning.

    Srry, I'm dreaming...

  •  I am a librarian... (2+ / 0-)

    and teach in a fairly wealthy, but conservative, district in NY state. I am set to lose my job in the upcoming year because we are facing a budget shortfall and 25% of the library staff is being eliminated.

    We check out about 20,000 volumes a month to students in the district, not to mention the programs and classes. The way the cut is being handled and where it is coming from will pretty much destroy the library program for the district.

    •  Please rec arch post thank you! :-) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      Yours is a very important post, in what is clearly a serious matter and subject of this diary. We encourage you despite the circumstances whatever the odds, to resist. This can be done and I would argue it must be done successfully in efforts in everything from regularly writing to your newspaper's letters to the editor page of your local community as well as the student newspaper, regularly approaching sympathetic school board members, as well as other people of standing in the community, everybody from local pastors to local radio talk show hosts who can help you get out the word all over the nation today and everyday. In a pushed to the wall fight to the finish libraries are threatened in reductions in staff and in closure.

      It seems to make no difference how valuable or how much valued the service is, we're all low hanging fruit for the conservative's budget axe. The only way out is to fight, to fight for your library, to fight for your kids, fight for your community and never and I do mean never give up. Never doubt, never waiver, you can do it. You must do it and in your mind and heart I know you've already done it, we can win. We just have to believe in each other and ourselves and in our libraries. Our prayers go with you. Stay in touch. Here is my email: democratsramshield@yahoo.com

      You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:36:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Does your library provide research services (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      that are used by the local business community? My sister is a librarian in a Dallas suburb, and they had a popular program that was used by local businesses. When the city council began debating cuts to the library, they got some powerful support from the Chamber of Commerce. It's a shame that public libraries have to rely on support from those who find their services financially valuable, but you take allies anywhere you can get them!

  •  Our local branch library was owned by Citibank (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    Somehow they acquired the library which sits next to a Citibank branch and they were charging the City of Oakland an extremely low rent for decades (a dollar or 2 a month I think). When the financial crash hit in 2007, Citibank decided to raise the rent to, I think, thirty or forty thousand a month which the city could not afford. The library next to where I live and which added so much to our neighborhood is now abandoned with a for lease sign. It's valuable property so whoever owns it can tear it down and put up condos and make millions.

  •  Not only (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, RosyFinch

    do I use my library all the time because I refuse to purchase any fiction type books for reading consumption - I also am able to download free e-books from my library.  I also am notorious for having over due fines and don't mind paying because that goes into their general fund. I mention this to the librarians when I go in to pay them.  They usually laugh and say thanks.

    Our library in Lancaster OH was in a crowded corner of the old city hall until they finally raised enough money to build the new library in the 80's. My first real independence moment was when I got to ride my bike downtown to go to the old library and check out any book I wanted to read. My parents did not censor any book I chose to read.  Guess it helped that my mom had an associates in Library Science when I was growing up and ended up working at Wagnalls Memorial Library (of Funk and Wagnalls)  in Lithopolis as a Children's librarian.  

    When I was unemployed and considering dumping my internet access (didn't though) I knew that I could go to my local library to get on the internet. My local library is ALWAYS busy and very happy for that. Wake County, NC is working to make sure our library branches are open and available. Worth my tax dollars for sure.

    Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

    by Caniac41 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 10:48:17 AM PDT

  •  An excellent post and a stirring call to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    action! As a freelance researcher and writer, I use the resources of our public library extensively for my work. My sister, a public librarian in a Dallas suburb, found that the local Chamber of Commerce was a powerful ally in fighting off ruinous cuts to the library. The library had made an effort to publicize their research services to the business community, and it paid off handsomely.

    Sadly, in this age of cutbacks and privatization in the public sphere, this is a battle that is fought over and over again. A few years ago when I was living in Austin, we had a hard-fought bond issue to replace the overcrowded and inaccessible central library. The measure passed handily, but not without plenty of letters to the editor asking why the writer should be forced to provide books to other people. "Haven't they heard of Barnes & Noble?" as one writer put it.

  •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

    ...when Bill Clinton went after the Branch Davidians down in WACO, the Republicans had to one up him so went after the Branch Librarians instead.  ;o)

  •  Some good comes from lunacy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    My hope is that some good will come from what these nut bags are trying to do. Those on the hard Right just can't help but show what idiotic Nazis they are and I hope that they continue to try to do insane things but are then stopped by rational people. I sincerely believe that over the last couple of years most of the population of the U.S. (and the world for that matter) have taken notice that the GOP/Tea Party is made up of psychopaths who only want to privatize everything for profit and don't have any concern for anyone unless they are part of the financial upper class.  

  •  Libraries had been defunded (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    in California to the point of being closed Sundays and Mondays. That has been partly repaired, and they are now open every day, although the Sunday-Monday hours are still less than a full business day. To paraphrase Dylan Thomas, we will not go gently into that dark night.

    The value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with the sincerity of the man who expresses it.--Oscar Wilde

    by Gene in L A on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 05:28:19 PM PDT

  •  I am so glad to see this addressed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    Our neighboring big city (Jacksonville, Fl) has cut funding for librarys and even closed one, in the small town of Maxville.  There isn't another library for miles away for the mostly poor residents to use.  I used to live there, moved to Middleburg in Clay county 8 years ago.  Here at least there is no talk of cutting librarys.  But while they have been cutting funds to librarys, the crime in Jacksonville has skyrocketed, especially in the Westside, where I used to live. Those who want to save the library system are trying to get a tax on the ballot there to get a dedicated funding source for librarys.  We need more librarys not less. It is sad that we citizens have to vote in another tax to keep our librarys open.  

    •  A tax to keep the libraries open? Yet another l... (0+ / 0-)

      A tax to keep the libraries open? Yet another legacy of the Reagan administration--we used to fund things such as schools, roads, and yes, libraries from the general fund of state and local taxes (usually by property tax, but also through state income and state sales taxes). But then the Reaganites squawked that they pay too much tax, so they cut the property taxes, and didn't adjust the income taxes. So it got left to local sales taxes to fund these things--and we know that sales taxes are more regressive--yes the "little people" pay the taxes (what Leona Hemsley said--became true. ..).

  •  It's not surprising, really... (0+ / 0-)

    ...because the New Corporatist Aristocracy us dumb Murkins to STAY dumb, so they can steal us blind and duck us over without complaining...

  •  Jindal is liberal next to the Libertarian loon... (0+ / 0-)

    Rush-wannabe radio bomb-thrower who dominates the morning "drive time" talk where I live.  He opposes the very concept of public libraries on principle, calling them "unfair tax-funded competition for private book and video stores".

    The scary part is that around here, he gets "attaboys" for saying that from the very people public libraries were designed to help...

  •  I wish I could double-tip. Thanks n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  First, they came for our Libraries; (0+ / 0-)

    ... then they came for our Freedom.

  •  Not just for books! (0+ / 0-)

    I wanted to add that libraries are not just a source of books!  In many communities, they do far, far more than that.

    Libraries are often seen as the heart of a community, a place where people can meet, talk and share with each other.

    Libraries are often the only place low income families and individuals can get access to the Internet or read a newspaper.

    Libraries are often the physical location for community programs, such as after-school arts class for kids.

    Libraries are a place where people can come in out of the cold for a while without having to buy something or worrying about being charged with loitering.  "If you are quiet and behave, you can stay" is how most libraries operate.

    And for the business-minded out there who think libraries are a waste of money, think on this.

    Carnigie, one of the most financially successful and ruthless capitalists in US history, thought so highly of the value of a library that he funded the building of hundreds, if not thousands of them across the country.

    •  I guess they don't make "ruthless capitalists" ... (0+ / 0-)

      I guess they don't make "ruthless capitalists" like they used to. Though we do have the Gates contributing to similar things these days, good luck getting the Walton family to do that, or the Kocks (who will do it, IF their philosophy goes with it. ..).

  •  Closing public libraries is a travesty... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Democrats Ramshield

    Some people HAVE to rely on public libraries to do research for school assignments and term papers, as well as a place from which to check out reading materials meant for more leisurely intellectual pursuits. Not every child and adult can afford to buy the newest Kindle or other gadgets to have access to educational information. And then there are follks like my mother, who thinks that the Internet and other technology will be the end of our society as we know it, who thinks that all this electronic evolution is the spawn of Satan. [She may just have a valid point there.]

    Whatever happened to physically visiting your local library, perusing amongst the dusty tomes to find a book that you needed for school or the most recent best-seller? Libraries also provide other materials, such as music CD's and movie DVD's, as well as having computer and other classes meant to allow people to learn new skills and change their lives for the better. Downloading a book onto a Kindle can't compare to the feeling you get when actually going to a physical building filled with all kinds of materials. Closing public libraries because of a lack of funding is doing a great disservice to the people in general. After all, education plays a large part in America's future.

  •  smile (0+ / 0-)

    You ran into a hardcore progressive whos just another working stiff with an MBA degree & vociferous labor union supporter

    by Democrats Ramshield on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:46:19 AM PDT

  •  Social good (0+ / 0-)

    to Republicans is communism.  

  •  libraries (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluegeorgia

    There would be no Ray Bradbury books without public libraries. He wrote about it before his death, how he self-educated at the public libraries wherever his poor family went. My vast curiosity about the world would not exist without libraries, because we also were poor and couldn't afford a lot of books. But our family loved reading and used that resource with gratefulness. Both our parents were readers. You will find books in our homes now that are treasured. I have seen NYC public libraries bloom, and then starve during hard economic times. Our culture is the first thing that gets cut in hard times, but I find myself wondering how it is that we have come so far and still think that culture is the first thing to cut. Look at the science-starved GOP making decisions about science without any understanding of what it is, or how things work. They will stand in 3 feet of rising water howling that climate change is not happening. And in job searching, the library is an invaluable resource providing computers and email for those who have lost or never had that service. We, as a country, are getting dumber by the year gutting education and teaching children how to perform like monkeys taking tests. Education isn't a tool to a good  life; it helps you create a good life. It teaches you how to protect yourself and your family. It nurtures creativity (we are losing that, too). Ben Franklin would be spinning in his grave.

    Never make the mistake Of the Man who claims 20 years experience, When he has actually had One year of experience 20 times.

    by tesseliot on Sat May 23, 2015 at 09:58:21 AM PDT

  •  So depressing (0+ / 0-)

    Not just the subject of this article, which definitely is a downer.  But the appalling number of grammatical errors from a LIBRARIAN is also deeply depressing.  Do you care no more for language than that?

  •  Embarrassing to live in Louisiana and watch Jindal (0+ / 0-)

    destroy it all. When his kid had a defective heart health insurance was very important - but now it's better to let other peoples kids die off from no Medicaid and no Charity system. We used to have great doctors here but they fled. Worse? Jindal is destroying everything - public schools and libraries, parks, recreation, that propelled him to Brown and into public office. It will take decades to recover from the mess he's made!

  •  Where is the petition? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hugh Yonn

    Where is the petition?

  •  Libraries (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hugh Yonn

    are for the public good.  My dad bought books continuously while I was growing up (he was an English teacher and not only taught me how to read but write and as a bibliophile the value of books, too).  My sister and I just cleaned out our parents house, and a book dealer took a hundred or more of them.  The movers took over 180 boxes of books out.  My dad always took care of his books, kept them in brand-new condition.   I used to refer to our house as Cleveland Public 2.  East Cleveland Library took 1/3 of the boxes and Lee Road (aka Cleveland Public Central) took the rest.  We probably had several thousand books.

  •  Not all kids have internet access... (0+ / 0-)

    When I was a kid in Jacksonville, Florida, some of my most memorable hours were spent in the Willowbranch Library.
    To this day, when I go through my old home town, I drive by.  Yes, it's still there... after more than 50 years.

    Please, support our libraries.  Not all young people have computers, laptops, and internet access.  Do not deny them the chance to explore...
    Please...

    •  literacy- whats it good for? (0+ / 0-)

      ...literate and well educated constituents aren't condoned by the Republican platform- as they tend to think independently and protest vehemently against idiotic GOP policies and there overall similarity with fascist governance.

  •  Thanks, everyone who posted here (0+ / 0-)

    As a librarian (retired) I've often wondered if anybody noticed what we were doing (except when they raced in at closing time & begged us to help them find what they were looking for & absolutely had to have yesterday!)

    I'm glad to know that all our work was not only appreciated but considered, as every librarian knows to be true, the cornerstone of civilization. Now if all you literate folk could just get the word out to those yahoos who control funding. . .

  •  Indian houseboy... (0+ / 0-)

    does it again. Like Scott Walker, a certified Koch whore, he won't be happy until he's destroyed the entire state.

    If you like bicycles, check out the newest and coolest products at my site, "ZiggyboyBullet.com." You can also find my products at e-Bay under the name, "Ziggyboy." See all the products on my "See seller's other items" link.

    by JohnnieZ on Sat May 23, 2015 at 10:19:36 PM PDT

  •  temporal provincialism (0+ / 0-)

    ...Jindal was just kidding around- if he were really serious, he would have burned all the library books.

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