Monday, March 7, 2011

Save The Libraries

"We need to shift our national view of libraries not as luxuries, but as necessities. When tragedy strikes in other nations, Americans are generous, but our libraries are being hit with a tsunami and there has been no call to action."
- Karin Slaughter, Author

From the "Save The Libraries" webpage:

"The idea for Save The Libraries came during a meeting of the American Library Association. Karin Slaughter, long a library advocate, spoke to librarians from around the country and realized very quickly that public libraries were in desperate need of help.

Karin wrote an op-ed piece which ran in the ran in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Sept. 10, 2010. The article ran with the headline "Fight for libraries as you do freedom." Read it here, here, or here.

In researching this article, she found the statistics startling -- 80% of children in rural areas use their local libraries as their only access to the internet and books. Staff is being laid off. Buildings are being closed. Libraries are built, books are purchased, but there's no funding to open or operate the facilities. 

To help spread the word about the needs for community support for public libraries, Karin has spearheaded, with a pilot event to benefit the DeKalb County (GA) Public Library system. This initial event serves as pilot program during which we are documenting steps of the process in order to make it repeatable at other libraries with minimal amount of staff planning time and administrative investment. 

Proceeds will go directly to the libraries.

A second event is being planned to benefit the Boston Public Library system. The event is tentatively being planned for June 2011.

Links of Interest

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Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Thanks for posting this, Kaye. We're about to lose our Matthews branch here...

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I am so worried about our libraries. Funding has become a major problem. I also wonder how the ebook craze will effect them.

The library here in Florida is packed everyday and is hard to even get a parking place. They are such a part of people's lives.

Sam said...

I can't imagine life without access to a local library, Kaye, so an effort like this one really appeals to me. My local branch recently decided not to open on Sunday's and that's been a real downer for me. Weekends are my only chance to get to the library and, because of lots of family obligations most Saturdays, I'm finding it difficult to get there very often anymore.

I understand the budget crisis for our county that requires one day a week closings - but why on one of the two busiest days of the week? Of course, no one asked my opinion. :-) said...

The value of libraries to a community, to a society, to history, seems to slipping away at a time when there is a growing perception in the public mind that facts, which are only a fingertip away via the Internet, represent knowledge.

This is the true value of libraries—not a mere collection of books on shelves—but the knowledge contained therein. It represents the ethos, the disposition, character, and fundamental values peculiar to a people and its culture.

This realization is recognized by those who list the loss of the libraries in Alexandria as one of the greatest tragedies in recorded history. Scholars disagree on the details of what led to the destruction of the Royal Library and its “sister” collection. But they agree that the answer to many of the questions of history that exist today could have been found in the documents that were destroyed.

Andrew Carnegie recognized the power of knowledge in books. This was the motivation behind his efforts to promote libraries across the nation. The Third Reich recognized the power of knowledge in books. This was the motivation behind its efforts to sack libraries and burn the books.

The “Save The Libraries” program is a wonderful idea. It has my support. And I see a touch of sweet irony in that the main tool in that effort is the Internet, the one thing to which many point as the single largest threat to libraries’ continued existence.

Vicki Lane said...

I have recently become a board member for our county library and I've seen their budget and know how dire their prospects are. Bravo to Karen for her initiative!

Lesa said...

As a librarian who has seen budgets cut, staff cut, hours cut, and has also seen people pour through our doors, thank you. Thank you to Karin Slaughter, and to everyone who is supporting the Save The Libraries movement. Someday, your children will thank you.