It’s that time again. The time of year when the local government officials want to end taxpayer contributions to the library because “no one uses libraries anymore.” The truth, however, is mostly likely that they don’t use the local library–because they can afford not to. However, the library provides more than books. The library offers services that promote equity in the community. So why should you support the library even if you never step foot in it?
Library Services Benefit the Entire Community
- allows students without computers or Internet access to do their homework
- helps reluctant readers find books they might connect with
- prevents “summer slide” through summer reading programs
- enables students who can’t afford books to do their assigned school readings
- connects the unemployed and homeless with community resources
- enables individuals without Internet to search for jobs and print, fax, or email records to apply for benefits
- offers resources to allow individuals to learn English–or another language!
- directs individuals to the correct offices and the correct paperwork during tax season
- promotes literacy and hands-on learning through storytimes and other activities and workshops
- offers volunteer opportunities for teens and adults
- teaches individuals how to use computers and the Internet
- offers a cool place in summer and a warm place in winter for those without a home or those who can’t afford air conditioning or heating.
equal access, equal opportunity
The reality is that not everyone can afford a computer, Internet access, books, or DVDS. Libraries are still integral and vibrant parts of the community and often they serve those whose monetary means are below those of the people who wish to stop funding libraries. Cutting funds would only limit access to social services and educational tools for the people who need them most. I’m sorry that some government officials have apparently not stepped foot in a library for years. If they had, they would have seen a beautiful place–one where knowledge and opportunity are offered to everybody, regardless of their income.