Libraries want a bailout too

Tom Jackson
Mar 23, 2010

 

Along with the other organizations getting in line in Washington, D.C., to ask for a bailout, such as banks, General Motors and state governments, you can add another group — public libraries. If Congress can’t write the check during the day, lawmakers can leave it in the slot after hours.

The American Library Association has issued a press release calling for “$100 million in stimulus funding” for America’s libraries. If you aren’t convinced giving more money to libraries helps the local economy, scroll down to the bottom of the release, which cites “a recent Pennsylvania study.” A “similar report from Florida” says the same thing. I never knew footnotes were so easy when I wrote my term papers in college. (Via this posting on the Kids Prefer Cheese blog.)

Besides, where’s the bailout for America’s newspapers, which are shedding jobs despite their vital role in the public’s right to know? You’re not against the First Amendment, are you?

Libraries do serve an important role in helping people with little money. If you’re out of work, you can use library computers to produce resumes and search Internet job listings. If you have to cancel cable TV to save money, you can at least check out library DVDs. Erie County is blessed with excellent libraries. If I spent any more time inside Sandusky’s, I’d be arrested for vagrancy.

My point is that hard times force choices. Before we cut the libraries a check, can we make sure we’ve taken care of the food banks, and children who need medical care, and unemployed workers who need to pay utility bills?

 

Comments

Anonymous

but wait--there's more http://www.libsci.sc.edu/SCEIS/e...

dlis.dos.state.fl.us/bld/roi/index.cfm

Anonymous

As a business librarian in a public library in Michigan, I would have to say that there are additional economic impact factors that you may not realize. Your library cardholders have access to thousands of dollars of databases per year to provide information useful to business owners

http://www.cpl.org/index.php?q=n...

These databases can obviate the necessity to purchase mailing lists that the small business owner may not be able to afford, as well as provide information on industry sectors, potential customers and suppliers, and market trends--all because you have a Sandusky library card.

Your business librarian can help with market research, the writing of a business plan, and sources on every aspect of management and marketing, be it on LinkedIn or Ebay. You need only contact the business department at

216.623.2927

Business@cpl.org

or by going to this address:

http://bus.cpl.org/

Ohio, like Michigan, has been hit hard by the departure of many manufacturing jobs. Small businesses may be one of the key components of economic revitalization. Libraries are key partners to get them the information they need.

Please use your column to get this word out, since you are a "frequent flier" at the library yourself.

Anonymous

In this connection, it's worth adding that the Huron Public Library has a collection of resources for people interested in starting a business, and also makes free advice from experts available. Anne Hinton, the director, is very interested in how libraries can be used to promote economic development.

Anonymous

Thanks, Tom

Anonymous

I wasn't aware that asking for additional funding when you're swamped by extra people meant libraries were asking for a stimulus package. As a librarian, I assumed it meant we were asking for the money needed to do the job the public was asking us to do. Right now, I'm being absolutely BURIED in people coming in to use the library's resources (because they can't afford to go out and buy information they used to, to look for work and apply for jobs, to ask for help to apply for jobs, to take our classes for free to learn basic computer skills, and for many other services that they just can't get elsewhere suddenly). When the economy tanks, library use goes up, way up. That costs more money. Libraries are asking for an increase in federal funding at a time when a lot of local funding and endowments are in jeopardy. I would say we're doing our job and generally have been making do with heavier traffic and the same budgets--or smaller. We succeed in our missions and have increased demand. I'd say that's the opposite of the Big 3, wouldn't you?

Anonymous

American public libraries are the best heritage of American culture. They were an example for the rest of the world. Let us hope they can fulfill their importants tasks also in the future.
Hans Krol, Heemstede, the Netherlands

Anonymous

I work for a public library and like everyone else we are indeed facing economic cuts - hours may be shortened, libraries may close completely and people will lose jobs. We are a vital resource for those looking for work, as you say. But I agree...when there ar ehomeless and hungry people in greater numbers than we can remember recently...why are we giving money to car manufacturers and banks? The truly needy people won't be buying cars or houses. Wake up Washington!

Anonymous

I have to agree with BekiLynn and Meg in their notions of libraries as an important resource, especially in times of dire need. Yes - feed the hungry and aid the homeless, but more and more as official and unofficial community center, libraries are expected to supply information, act as clearing houses, teach people computer skills, resume and cover letter writing skills, provide research for jobs, act as resources and supply internet connections (since they have to cancelled their home connections due to costs). While the Federal government is bailing out banks and car manufacterers, why not bail out an institution that actually HELPS people on a daily basis?

And yes, I AM a public librarian!

Anonymous

I have to agree with BekiLynn and Meg in their notions of libraries as an important resource, especially in times of dire need. Yes - feed the hungry and aid the homeless, but more and more as official and unofficial community center, libraries are expected to supply information, act as clearing houses, teach people computer skills, resume and cover letter writing skills, provide research for jobs, act as resources and supply internet connections (since they have to cancelled their home connections due to costs). While the Federal government is bailing out banks and car manufacterers, why not bail out an institution that actually HELPS people on a daily basis?

And yes, I AM a public librarian!

Marquez C

Well, there's a great point to help libraries if this is the real purpose. It is important to always prioritize those beneficial things. This must be one of the government's ideology. IBERIA and Northern Trust Bank are both giving back the funds that they accepted as part of the TARP bailout program, claiming that they never needed the money in the first place. Both banks have said that they only accepted the funding in the spirit of cooperation with the government programs giving aid to financial institutions. IBERIA recently came out with a statement to the effect that accepting TARP funds would put them at a disadvantage. It’s admirable that they are giving the money back, but why would they take bailout money in the first place?