Thursday, June 4, 2009

Radical Militant Librarian Say What?

I always hated that term in grad school. It was usually accompanied by some ugly 50s housewife meets guerilla soldier looking picture, that did librarians no better justice than the stereotypical poor-dressing, cardigan-wearing with cat glasses, hair-in-a-bun stereotype we've been fighting for years. But you know what? Librarians can get pretty fired up and fiesty when it comes to certain issues. Like right now...

There is a budget in the Pennsylvania state senate right now, to be voted on July 1st, that will cut state funding of libraries 50%. That's right. HALF. If that happens, libraries stand to lose from federal aid as well, since the federal budget won't pick up the slack for the state's inability to at least produce level funding. What happens if that passes? Power Library databases, used by schools, public libraries and students across the state: gone. Access PA, used to interlibrary loan items libraries don't have in their own collection ("library sharing") for their patrons: gone. Collection sizes? At state minimum. Staff? My library (and others) forced to lay off or cut hours when we're already grossly short-staffed as it is. And I don't even want to think what that could mean for programming.

So the very thing that people need in a recession: free materials, free programs, free computer classes, free wireless internet, research databases, quiet places to study, and much more... all provided to anyone, regardless of whether they are employed or not... devastated. I know the whole economy's hurting right now, but why is it always the education and community service related things that get cut? The things community needs at times like this? Yes, I'm biased. I love my work. I also want to keep my job. But I have to trust God's in control of that. But I still don't get it. I know the people reading this have probably already received my email, but please, please, please... write your lawmakers! Let them know how you feel! If you need to know what to write or who, let me know. But they need to hear us! We've already received updates from the President of the Pennsylvania Public Library Association that legislators are feeling the heat, calling him to "call off his library attack dogs"! Great! Keep up the good work, Pennsylvania! Keep hitting them until they see how much we care!


Raising Saints said...

Hey! Radical Militant Librarian or not .. that was one great storytime last night! ;) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was raised by Library people, and those that I know, all believe that free libraries mean free people. They want to give their patrons the best service they can. They want to maintain the best collections they can. They also believe that you should be able to read ANYTHING you please. I could not be prouder to know such people.