Gentle blog readers:
That time has come around again. Budget time for the City of Seattle. Unfortunately, there is a shortfall, and the budget looks as tight as ever. Which means somebody is going to try to cut library system's hours and services. This affects a lot of people
The kid who wrote this e-mail to Hizzoner Mayor McGinn had a point. There are still people, whose only access to computers is through the local library system. And it's not just little kids, either. I've mentioned before that many of the people who don't have access are immigrants trying to become citizens, people looking for a job, some homeless people who try to keep in contact.
There is also the "human" aspect: How about parents of small children who want to find some parenting advice that fits their child? They may have computers, and that helps, but they may need just some time away, especially if their child has special needs. The library system might, for them, be a place to relax for a short while, to catch their breath. Libraries are also community "hubs" of various kinds. Community meetings and other functions are often held in them, and the wonderful thing about libraries(certainly that's the case here in Seattle), is that they're free for all. We citizens pay a certain amount of taxes to keep them funded. I realize also that some people here in the US are pretty "antitax", but they, too, use the library, regardless of whether they think tax money that goes to fund libraries is a good idea or not.
I also realize that what is happening in Seattle, as far as budget difficulties go, is happening all over the country. In this sluggish economy, these problens are unlikely to be resolved soon, and in my opinion, this is all the more reason to get our City Council and Mayor McGinn to hold the line on funding for the library. We have been cut enough.
Also, while this may seem "political", and in a way it is, I want to assure all Gentle Readers that this is not, and never will be, a "political" blog. It is primarily a blog about writing, medieval history and society(especially in a certain period in medieval England), prehistoric humans(especially Neandertals), and I won't leave out My Beloved Wolves. Most of these subjects relate to the book I'm writing, so I feel justified.
But libraries are important to writers, too. Oh, there are lots of interesting resources, of varying quality, on the Internet, and that's the trouble. They are of varying quality. Some are quite good, others, well, dubious to say the least. So my fallback is libraries, for research. Yes, we writers often do research about whatever we're writing about! So this is why I occasionally blog about the state of the library system here in Seattle, and what I think should be done about it. Libraries are a reflection of the health of the local community, and thus are important for their own sake.
And lest anyone think I'm just sitting on my behind complaining about this, I"m not. Yesterday, I e-mailed the mayor, and everysingle member of the Seattle City Council, laying out reasons why they should hold the line with the Seattle Library System budget, and not cut any more. I hope they will take heed. I also plan to attend a community meeting about this, in about 2 weeks. I will not stay silent. I will do what I can to add my voice, and try to keep the library going as it is till better times. And when better times come, I plan to add my voice to a push for expansion and restoration of previously cut hours and services. I will not be silent about that, either.