Friday, February 4, 2011


Elana at Wordsmithing has been blogging on library closings in the U.K. and brought to my attention that February 5th is "Visit a Library Day".  And though the particular day she is promoting is for patrons of libraries in the U.K., I believe it is important for Americans to realize that their libraries are also in jeopardy as city budgets all over the county continue to be slashed and city representatives look around for easy places to cut. Last year, Aurora, Colorado closed three libraries and this last fall Denver closed several of their branches extra days (although how this saved money is still beyond me...that is a blog for another day). The unfortunate fact of the closing is that many of our customers didn't pay attention to the closings until it inconvenienced them and then were unhappy about the closing. Unfortunately at that point, it was too late and all we could say was that they should call their local city representative. But again it was too late and they are not going to change it back. Particularly now as we approach yet another round of cuts for 2012! The city budget is projected at 100 million shortfall in collected tax revenue so again we have to slash a budget that has been stripped to the bare bone for the past 4 or 5 years!The library will inevitably have to cut far more this year and no one knows what is left frankly. Employees already take 2% pay-cut each year (furlough days), no pay increase at all, and the cost of healthcare continues to increase. Positions are not refilled when a person quits, in most cases, and libraries are often understaffed. Where do you make additional cuts?  

But Denver isn't the only city looking at the library as one of the places to trim. In fact Denver is in FAR better shape than most cities. Denver is at least solvent! Earlier this year I blogged about a New York Times article  I'd read about libraries being privatized in order to save money! The drastic change this will have for those cities is potentially devastating because with privatization comes increased charges, fewer resources, and less professional help (no librarians in buildings).

So it's not just a concern for the libraries in the U.K. and it is definitely NOT something that any of us should wait to protest until the deed is done and the doors are closed. After all it's much easier to keep the doors open and the books on the shelves than it is to hire employees, get the doors open, and buy new books to put back on the cobweb strewn shelves that collected while the building sat empty!!! And maybe all it takes is to...


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