Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Funding Libraries

Privatization of libraries??! Well, it's happening, according to a recent article in The New York Times by David Streitfeld about a library in Santa Clarita, CA that will be privately owned in the near future.

Obviously, there is disbelief, frustration, and unrest about such decisions, actions, and even propositions. Public libraries have always been for and by the public, and funded by public monies, not by a private company.

And, with the expansion of electronic equipment, digital formats, and enhanced communication formats & systems, costs are rising for all libraries. From where will the money come? How will monies be allocated with smaller or dwindling budgets? How does one prioritize the priorities with these limited budgets?

These considerations are important for all parties to discuss, particularly librarians, in light of a statement by Sarah A. Tobias, the Director of the Sycamore, IL public library that libraries aren't "free."
Her point is well taken, even if we don't provide cash, credit, or debit card to receive a library card.
She continues with her call to librarians asking, "When are we librarians going to wake-up and realize that we are doing ourselves and our communities a disservice by saying that libraries are free? [W]hen we keep saying that it's free, we send the message that we don't need to money...Libraries cost money. There is nothing free about them.”
--Her full statement can be found in "Feedback" in Library Journal July 2010 p.12

1 comment:

Judy Gressel said...

Ms. Brennan:
Thanks for sharing! We can't take it for granted that everyone understands how libraries are funded.