Save the Library!

Recently, a spate of johnny-come-lately millionaires who’ve infested our little rural town and turned it into suburban hell were elected to our city council and mayor positions. They’ve held office for less than 6 months, and already they’re trying to sneak really horrible budget cuts in while granting huge tax abatements to developers.

Amongst the budget cuts they’re trying to sneak through when nobody is looking is a devastating blow to the local library. They’re proposing eliminating the position of director of the library, which would leave us with zero full time “real” librarians, and they want to put the
library under Parks and Streets….which is a huge boondoggle of a mess.

I’ve only recently discovered that this is going on, and I have a very limited amount of time to put together a persuasive argument to go in front of the city council to tell them to leave our library alone. (I found out today from a library aide who asked if I was going to the council meeting on the 7th and the 21st. The director said that he can’t help me with research because it might cross ethical boundaries since it’s his job and budget I’m trying to save.)

I’m scheduled to speak on the 21st. (Those of you with public access tv, tune in and giggle while I rant. Watch me as I struggle not to use the term “You blithering fucking idiots” and “Do not make me club you like a baby seal!”)

Our library was built when our town had less than 5,000 people. It’s teeny. We now have over 50,000 people, with close to 200k annual visits, and they want to cut the budget by almost 50%. The cuts they propose might close the library, in my opinion.

The things I’m researching are the benefits that the library itself serves to the community at large, to the commons, and to the individuals. I could also use some help getting a handle on accreditation of libraries and how losing accredition impacts federal/state funds and grants. (You can’t be an accredited library without a “real” librarian.)

If any of my LJ buddies have first hand experience with justifying the budgets of libraries, please help me narrow my research tracks!

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