Public libraries serve many purposes. In times of old, they served as the repositories of knowledge and wisdom. Today, they serve as portals to the world’s knowledge through books, magazines, video, and the internet.
More than ever, libraries are under financial attack. Interestingly, when people need them the most is when their budgets are placed on the cutting blocks and chopped down. When people are out of work or face financial hardships, that is when they turn to their libraries. Libraries supply everyone with a way to search for work through the internet. Libraries give internet access to those who can’t afford it. When you can’t afford to fix your car, libraries will have the books needed that will give you the knowledge to do so yourself. When you want to watch a movie, libraries will have collections of DVD or VHS tapes that you will be able to check out and watch for free. When your inner child or your actual child wants to play a new game on their video game console, again libraries will pull through for you.
Please do not think that public libraries have unlimited funds. They are funded through donations, grants, tax levies, bake sales, and other sources. Many of the people who work there are people who are determined to help you in the best ways they can with limited resources. Many of the good people working there are volunteers. Many work for minimum wage. Some are professional staff who work for a pay scale that most would never consider. But all of these people work there because they have a sense of duty to their community. They’re not working there to get rich, they’re working there so that you will enjoy the library as much as they enjoy working there.
Please remember these words: when you need your library the most, chances are it needs you the most at the same time. When state budgets are being cut due to low tax revenues, that means library funding suffers also. Low tax revenues usually mean greater unemployment, which means people with less income. Less income means less spending on travel, research, and entertainment, which means greater use of the libraries’ free resources. To most people, libraries are there through good and bad. We simply can’t afford to lose libraries in good or bad times.
Please support your local library when they need you. They support you when you need them.