Skip to main content


Louisiana cuts state funds to libraries. Will your state be next?

 
(This is written by an American expat who is a librarian living in the European Union, where libraries are far better publicly funded.)

                           American Libraries under Attack!

American libraries are the last truly socialized good that we have in the United States wherein a homeless American is served on par with the mayor and city council aristocracy. The truth is you're about to lose this important public good which has intellectual freedom as its centerpiece. You deserve to know about it, but more than that we need your help. Therefore I invite you to give a careful and indeed close reading to this very important issue which deserves your support, as it refers to keeping an informed public, which has always been the cornerstone of the American democracy. Which in order to work requires voters to be informed and educated on the very important issues facing our democracy.

                       

Louisiana state library funding has been eliminated
Citing budget concerns, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed a $25-billion budget that eliminates almost $900,000 in state funding for its libraries. In a statement, the governor’s chief budget aide, Paul Rainwater, said, “In tight budget times, we prioritized funding for healthcare and education. Operations such as local libraries can be supported with local, not state dollars.”
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/...

Thanks to the GOP, Ann Coulter and her Tea Party ilk which are on a tirade to defund any and all socialized institutions, which offer egalitarian equal access to all have decided to target your local libraries. As a librarian this is of heartfelt concern to me, because I understand very well how many books it will take to turn that special child in your life into a lifelong reader. I understand that you probably aren't going to have all of those books in your private collection. This fact will change that child's life, as well as the lives of all of their friends, both in your community and across America and that will change for the worse the future of America.
Library Budget Cuts Threaten Community Services Across Country

These days, the library's very existence is a question mark, and they face
some of the steepest budget cuts in history. According to a Harris/Reader's
Digest Poll from late 2010, nearly 40 percent of American mayors plan to
reduce hours, shed employees or make other cutbacks in the coming months,
while many county libraries have already eliminated branches entirely.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

The library offers equal access to all. It is a truly public, truly socialized good. It doesn't matter if you're a homeless person or the mayor, when you walk in to the library and present your library card, you have access to all of the same services across the board, and without exception. This is very important because a lot of very smart people believe that your right to read as enshrined by the American Library Association's Freedom to Read statement is believed to come directly from the United States Constitution, which ensures freedom of speech. This means that you have the freedom to read and to listen to and to watch the free expression of your fellow Americans and citizens of the world, both contemporary and historical. Because the library in its essence is really the repository for everyone who has ever thought and written. If you lose access to that, if your children and members of your community lose access to that, it will diminish us all, because it constitutes a type of de facto economic censorship, wherein as library systems given budget shortfalls all across America, are being forced to move to so called pay for services plans. So if you are an economic have not and your children and your communities will become information have nots. This means in America we will have a less well informed electorate, in a clear posture where most people in America don't read. They have made themselves dependent of passive consumers of electronic media, where they get most information from sitcoms and fake news shows.


Some people feel with the internet they no longer need libraries. It's all available online, they think. They think that right until the time they can't find something and then they need help. So it is that they go to their local library only to find the door is closed. The good news is it's never too late. We can always reopen closed libraries but moreover we can keep your library from closing with your support. You see, the more information that you have access to, the more irreverent information you will have access to. That's not the type of information you need that's relevant  to you and your community. You need professional collection development and maintenance that reflect your information needs and the information needs of your community. That's why you need a library. The amount of information in the world doubles every 8 years. That makes it harder for you to find pertinent information without professional help.

(Image source:
http://www.ala.org/... )

What happens to a less well informed America is that people become victims of economic censorship, which the powers that be love, because that will turn us all into 'right thinking' Americans, who've become intolerant. This is what happens to people particularly when they are growing up, when they are presented with one sided information they become intolerant. This gives rise to all of the isms, especially racism and sexism, and the intolerant hatred for anyone who looks or lives differently. If we want a tolerant society then we have to be prepared to pay the price for intellectual freedom. That means supporting our local libraries, because the cost of censorship is simply too high.
News

Budget cuts are affecting public libraries all over the country.

    Maryland: Summer reading is the latest budget-cutback victim

    New Jersey: Public library board readies for municipal budget cuts

    New York: Budget cuts forces Queens Library to shutter 14 branches, cut 300 workers and reduce hours

    California: L.A. book lovers to protest city library budget cuts

    California: Siskiyou County could close libraries

    Illinois: Illinois Cooperatives Suffering Massive Service Cuts, Dozens of Lay-Offs

Responses in support of funding public libraries

    Op-Ed from Los Angeles Times by Marilyn Johnson U.S. public libraries: We lose them at our peril

    A response to the New York City public library funding crisis from author T.J. Stiles Rescuing the Stacks
http://www.ala.org/...

As librarians we are trained to resist censorship in all of its guises, especially economic censorship. But we cannot do it on our own, we have to appeal to the public with some regularity. We depend on your support, to step up, stand up and speak out and make a difference for yourself, make a difference for the community. Make a difference for that special child in your life! Please support your local library today. Thank you.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Update: This postscript is in response to a reader who thought in a digital future libraries may become obsolete or at least in paper form.   As for library info, well it seems the more information that is available in digital form, the more we need library staff to help us organize and access that information. If you don't believe that, try to Google something on the internet. You will find more information then you can use. This is precisely the problem. In library jargon, that's high retrieval with low pertinence. What we need is to get the opposite information that is highly pertinent in low retrieval data sets that are small enough to be manageable. To lose a library not only constitutes a danger for our society, it is dangerous for democracy to risk losing access to full intellectual freedom of everyone who has ever thought and everyone who has ever written.  

PLEASE LET ME INVITE YOU TO FOLLOW ME @ DKOS & TWITTER! THANK YOU!
 Just click on the links below. Thank you.

http://www.dailykos.com/...
https://twitter.com/...
P.S. Happy Holidays to All! :-)

 

Originally posted to Democrats Ramshield on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 07:59 AM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter, Readers and Book Lovers, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Louisiana Kossacks.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (110+ / 0-)

    sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

    by Democrats Ramshield on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 07:59:08 AM PST

  •  All a part of the dumbing-down of the US (31+ / 0-)

    Anywhere actual facts exist at one's fingertips is a dangerous threat to those who will break the back of this Republic.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 08:15:07 AM PST

    •  George Carlin addressed this point in his epic (31+ / 0-)

      rant about the Big Club:

      Then people wonder why 17 other countries graduate more scientist than we do. Education – politicians use that word, they use it on you. Politicians have traditionally hidden behind 3 things: the flag, the bible, and children – no child left behind, no child left behind. Oh, really it wasn’t too long ago you were talking about giving children a head start. Head start – left behind, someone’s losing ground here, but there’s a reason. There’s a reason for this. There’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason it’ll never ever be fixed – it’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you got, because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now. The wealthy big business interests that controls things, and makes all the important decisions.

      Forget the politicians, they’re irrelevant. The politicians are put there to give you the idea you have freedom of choice – you don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own, and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and payed for the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media, so they control just about all the information you get. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying – lobbying, to get what they want.

      Well we know what they want. They want more for themselves, and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want – they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that – that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people that are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table, and think about how badly they’re getting screwed by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? Obedient workers – Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines, and do that paper work. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and vanishing pension that disappear the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your social security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it – they’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this place. It’s a big club, and you aint in it. You, and I are not in The Big Club.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:10:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed (8+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 08:20:55 AM PST

  •  Jindal "prioritizes education" (15+ / 0-)

    by giving millions to charter and private schools which do not have to meet any standards.  Also, too,isn't he turning down the Medicaid expansion money?

    If the Republicans ever find out that Barack Obama favors respiration, we'll be a one-party system inside two minutes. - Alan Lewis

    by MadRuth on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 08:24:26 AM PST

  •  want consumers, not citizens (16+ / 0-)

    recent diary very important

    "Radical Democracy Against Cultures of Violence,” by Dr. Henry A. Giroux

    article opens with

    Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. - Nelson Mandela

    Guy Debord once argued that the spectacle suggests society's desire for sleep.[1] He was enormously prescient, and his words and work are more important today than when they were first written.

    The spectacle has been energized and reworked under the forces of neoliberalism and now promotes a mix of infantilism, brutality, disposability and lawlessness. As the visibility of extreme violence is endlessly reproduced in various cultural apparatuses and screen cultures, it functions increasingly, alongside a range of other economic and political forces, to legitimate a culture of cruelty and disposability in everyday life. Pleasure is now colonized in the service of violence, reinforcing Rustom Bharacuha's claim that "there is an echo of the pornographic in maximizing the pleasure of violence."[2]

    Casino capitalism feeds on the spectacle, whitewashing history while ensuring the triumph of form over substance. Violence is not simply glorified, it is also spectacularized in more graphic, stirring and dazzling digitally induced dramatic depictions.

    Violence is the new state-supported and institutionalized obscenity, parading as both entertainment and an honorific social ideal to celebrate those who inhabit its repressive state apparatuses - from its war machine to its local police regimes. Violence and politics are no longer separate but permeate each other in contemporary American society, contributing "to the suppression of the very conditions necessary to build a [democratic social order and] polity."[3]

    there are several paragraphs that by themselves stand alone and are worth thinking about

    the assault by the oligarchy continues ...

  •  When I was a kid, we went to the (5+ / 0-)

    library to seek out information. There was nothing you couldn't find out by reading a book about it (and little you could find out if you did NOT have access to books). But technology has changed all that. Younger people are reading less and less paper-based media and more online media. Libraries may not be obsolete today, but let's face it, they are headed that way. A building full of books that all will eventually be digitized makes little sense. The library of tomorrow will likely be online, and have millions of e-books that can be rented for free or for cheap. Buildings full of printed books, and a staff that continually has to put them back on the shelves is an anachronism that is not long for this world.

    •  I know what you're saying and you certainly are (16+ / 0-)

      describing certain realities.  But what's lost in your comment is that not everyone has access to e-readers, computers, or digital anything.  I'm not sure if you left that part of the equation out of your answer because you think that "in the future" at some point poverty, lack of access to technology and unequal infrastructure will all be eradicated; but that particular future would be a very long time off.  And what about all those people now, or ten or twenty years from now, who need and will still need access to reading materials, services, information, machines, technology, etc., through the taxpayer-funded public venue that is the Public Library?

      That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

      by concernedamerican on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:20:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right; not only are hardcopy books still needed (9+ / 0-)

        ...but library computers are still the most convenient ways for people who can't afford fancypants iPhones or even DSL to have access to basic research tools such as Wikipedia.

        •  Right, and who chooses the E-Books? (4+ / 0-)

          The problem with E-Books is that it is a commercial business.  
          More alarming is the digitization of research studies.  Large Multi-national Corporations are racing to get the exclusive copyright to all academic research journals.  Very Few of these databases are free (not even on Google). Those that are free, like Wiki's, often have erroneous and/or misleading information.  The cost of these databases are astronomical for public libraries and even public university libraries.  Corporations now own most of the knowledge, and they can pull the plug at any time

          Libraries and Librarians work to preserve freedom of access to all knowledge. They are cutting the amount of hard cover classics to get the expensive databases.  In my humble (public university library) experience, they provide minority students and the faculty an invaluable service.  They teach 'Information Fluency,' which helps students determine what online information is reliable and what is junk.  A growing number of faculty are joining what is known as the 'Free Access' movement.  Google it.  
           

          These nattering nabobs of negativism must stop blocking every single thing we try to do! ~ Rep. Alan Grayson 9/30/09

          by Lipstick Liberal on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:47:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is the point. Who is going to buy those (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brown Thrasher

          computers?  We need to agree as a public that we will fund the purchase of those computers, and the maintaining of library spaces to house them, and the support of the electricity to run them, so that the public might have access to them.

          That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

          by concernedamerican on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 04:14:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Beat me to the punch! (0+ / 0-)

        Col. Brandt: "What do you think we'll do when we lose the war?" Capt. Kiesel: "Prepare for the next one." --from "Cross of Iron"

        by ConservatismSuxx on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 07:06:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just as libraries were needed for those who (12+ / 0-)

      did not have access to books at home, they are just as important, if not more so, for those without access to electronic media. Our library provides access to the internet, even allows tablets to be checked out.  

      The staff also provides training in the use of the internet and other modern tools.  They introduce children to the love of learning and help adults catch up with the gaps in their education.  

      They provide assistance in job searches and employment preparation.  They have a full calendar of educational programming and opportunities for all ages.  

      After the state cut funding for libraries, our local system passed a levy with about an 80-20 margin.  Libraries can be a wonderful asset to the community in many ways.

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 10:38:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A Public Library in a physical local setting is (4+ / 0-)

        a fundamentally civilizing institution in the community and serves a social and educational function well beyond the mere physical availability of books.    

      •  Libraries also provide other access (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ahumbleopinion

        Most libraries also pay for databases that patrons can access remotely at home.

        These databases include not only print resources, but downloadable ebooks, audiobooks and videos.  Now even patrons who don't "need" to go INTO libraries still need libraries to provide them with the materials that they get online.

        And from my experience as a librarian, even if Republicans want to cut taxes that fund libraries, they are among the biggest users of libraries and the loudest to complain if they feel deprived of their library's resources.

        I used to chuckle at the conservatives who lived outside of our county (in order to save on taxes), but expected to get full library privileges anyway for free.  The most conservative were usually the most vociferously aggrieved when they found they had to pay an annual fee equal to the taxes paid by county citizens in order to check out books!

        Fox's Brian Kilmeade on Starbucks' decision to ban guns in stores: "Real simple - if you have a gun, go to Dunkin Donuts."

        by NCJan on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 05:02:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, no. (11+ / 0-)

      The experience of reading a book in a library is markedly different from looking up a single fact online. There are numerous studies showing that attention span, retention of information, curiosity (above all) are severely curtailed among those who use electronic media exclusively. Perhaps that will change; I hope so since I agree with you that it's the way of the future but it hasn't yet. Libraries have an important and irreplaceable function in our society.

    •  Libraries may be obsolete (6+ / 0-)

      But librarians are not. Few of us are really good at all of the following: using good search terms, starting in the right place, evaluating web sites, knowing about on-line databases.

      Even more importantly, reference interviews allow a librarian to move from "what are you looking for?" to "what information or contacts do you need?". Software engineering emphasizes that clients (and people in general) very often don't understand the problem they're trying to solve. The same is true in many cases for patrons in the library.

      Three populations come particularly to mind: students trying to figure out college, major and career; many job hunters; and senior citizens trying to understand benefits.

      Finally, as brick-and-mortar bookstores go away--or at least deemphasize print, having a place to browse is important for those of us who still read.

      •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nchristine, StrayCat

        While it is inevitable that hard copy print media will be phased out, this just makes it vital that we start thinking about what the library of the future will look like.  While knowledge of physical filing systems and whatnot will become less important, search methodologies and research techniques will be vitally important, as well approaches to digitally cataloguing and archiving information and literary works.

        The whole idea of the so-called "information superhighway" was to increase access to information. We must not allow the transition to digital media to mean that only those with sufficient means can access information.

        •  I hope hard copy is never phased out. The NSA (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pdkesq

          Or a new J. Edgar couldn't find all the paper books, but the electronic storage is always vulnerable.

          Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

          by StrayCat on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:16:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

            I don't advocate eliminating existing books for sure, but going forward, not printing on paper is certainly more eco friendly (and if the prices weren't inflated to be consistent with the cost of print books, SHOULD be cheaper).

        •  Ebooks aren't all free (0+ / 0-)

          Even if print media is gradually less important, libraries will still be central for providing access to ebooks and audiobooks.

          The only shame at this point is that many people do not know that they can borrow materials for their e-readers  or MP3 players /IPods for free from their public libraries instead of purchasing everything from vendors.

          Most public libraries subscribe to software vendors like Overdrive, who provide downloadable ebooks, audiobooks and videos for all patrons who have a library card.

          Fox's Brian Kilmeade on Starbucks' decision to ban guns in stores: "Real simple - if you have a gun, go to Dunkin Donuts."

          by NCJan on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 05:11:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  We are nowhere near that point yet (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lipstick Liberal, StrayCat

      And for certain things we likely never will be.  Moreover, the mania for e-readers and digital books faded quite a bit this holiday season.

      Libraries are still necessary, and will be for the foreseeable future.  

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:38:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat, Debby

      Libraries are community centers for rural areas.....

      We digitize at the risk for loss of our community and connections with others.

      Its not cheap if you don't have an ereader

      its not cheap if you don't have internet access

      Libraries are evolving towards inclusiveness.

      Libraries have reading times for kids,

      community game nights,

      Librarians are the true radicals of society. If we don't maintian our public spaces where can we go as citizens to engage others?

    •  To doc2 - Yours is an interesting post (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat, lostinamerica

      Certainly my own view is libraries even in a digital future will continue to be a necessary part of our communities in terms of providing a socialized good that everyone can afford to have access to. But beyond that, there's the issue that studies have shown that people need a place to congregate and to meet because human beings are social creatures. Therefore there will always be a necessity for a library. As for library stuff, well it seems the more information that is available in digital form, the more we need library staff to help us organize and access that information. If you don't believe that, try to Google something on the internet. You will find more information then you can use. This is precisely the problem. In library jargon, that's high retrieval with low pertinence. What we need is to get the opposite information that is highly pertinent in low retrieval data sets that are small enough to be manageable.

      So the more advanced the information age becomes, the greater the necessity for the library and library staff.  To lose a library not only constitutes a danger for our society, it is dangerous for democracy to risk losing access to full intellectual freedom of everyone who has ever thought and everyone who has ever written. Because that's really what the library houses as a collective, societal repository.

      sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

      by Democrats Ramshield on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 03:23:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Our worst enemy is a relentless ideology (0+ / 0-)

      of budget-cutting.  I know this as a federal science librarian.  But we're as busy as ever!  And when I go to the public library (as a patron), it's always packed!  The library is an important community center in our big-block world--especially for lower-income users.

      Col. Brandt: "What do you think we'll do when we lose the war?" Capt. Kiesel: "Prepare for the next one." --from "Cross of Iron"

      by ConservatismSuxx on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 07:09:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  People are free to buy their own books... (7+ / 0-)

    And we can't publish books without outlay of capital, so therefore it's only logical that anyone who uses a book MUST pay for the privilege.

    Hell, by quoting a book, you're engaging in theft, so unless you actually PAY for every citation, you can't back up your arguments by quoting somebody else.

    /This argument brought to you by the RIAA and MPAA

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:01:24 AM PST

  •  Having an educated and informed public (12+ / 0-)

    is not in the best interests of the ruling elite.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:03:14 AM PST

    •  When's the last time you walked into... (4+ / 0-)

      ...a library for any reason?

      If the answer is "awhile ago", is it because you serve the ruling elite?

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:41:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A couple weeks ago (9+ / 0-)

        and it was packed with people.
           I also use the local library's online web site for ebooks.

        Not only that, I recently offered to do some volunteer work for my local library.

          Not the answer you expected, huh?

        None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

        by gjohnsit on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:50:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Temmoku

          E-book co-ops? I mean, those are great, my friends use them too. But do you need a library building to do that? An e-book system like that is just a computer sitting somewhere.

          Otherwise, fine, I agree, I expected a different answer, but I don't think the fundamentals are much different. The traditional "library" concept is going the way of the dodo. Libraries are going to have to evolve with the times.

          As a result, I don't really buy the assertion that cuts in library funding are some sort of plot by the elite.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 10:11:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not a plot, so to speak (7+ / 0-)

            The ROI in the private sector is nearing its peak potential. There's only so much exploiting left to do.
              Thus the biggest sector out there that hasn't been totally exploited is the public sector. That's why we are seeing a full-frontal attack on all things public.
               Libraries happen to be one of those things, and their purpose just happens to not match up with the agenda of the ruling elite.

            None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

            by gjohnsit on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 10:19:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Evolving (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Temmoku, jbob, Jim P, Ellid, StrayCat
             Libraries are going to have to evolve with the times.
            You mean totally shutting down and being privatized.
              yeh, we get it. We just don't agree.

            None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

            by gjohnsit on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 10:21:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Privatized? (0+ / 0-)

              What moneymaking business model can you see replacing libraries that are doomed anyway?

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 10:49:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's a bold statement (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nchristine, Debby, lostinamerica
                 libraries that are doomed anyway
                Libraries have been around since the beginning of civilization. And now suddenly they are "doomed"?
                   You should think about this a bit longer.
                Basically you are saying that humans have evolved past the need for libraries. Which of course doesn't match up to your faith in the marketplace, which believes that humans are incapable of evolving.
                What moneymaking business model can you see replacing libraries
                 That's easy: the republican method for privatizing.
                  Step #1) give it to a private enterprise with heavy public subsidies
                  Step #2) Services get cut but public subsidies don't.
                  Step #3) There is no step #3

                  That's the history of privitization in this country.

                None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                by gjohnsit on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 10:59:24 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                  Basically you are saying that humans have evolved past the need for libraries. Which of course doesn't match up to your faith in the marketplace, which believes that humans are incapable of evolving.
                  What the fuck...?
                  That's easy: the republican method for privatizing.
                    Step #1) give it to a private enterprise with heavy public subsidies
                    Step #2) Services get cut but public subsidies don't.
                    Step #3) There is no step #3
                    That's the history of privitization in this country.
                  How do you expect to make money from a library?

                  If you are talking about schools, the answer might be "charge the state or parents money to teach their kids stuff".

                  What is the equivalent one-sentence way to make money from private libraries?

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 11:11:12 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Maybe you missed the point (0+ / 0-)
                    How do you expect to make money from a library?
                    It doesn't matter because the method is always the same:

                    1) Cut services
                    2) Cut wages
                    3) Impose new fees that didn't exist before
                    4) Heavy public subsidies

                      Will it work? Who cares! If it doesn't work the firm that was contracted out for the privatization effort will still scoop up profits off the public subsidies and leave the libraries permanently crippled in the process.
                       Either way, the libertarian, Ayn-Rand types will buy into it the moment a firm says that they can do it because of the unshakable belief that private enterprise is always the solution for everything.

                       That's the history of privatization in a nutshell.

                     And you still never responded to the fact that libraries, which have been around for 3,000 years, are suddenly "doomed".

                    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

                    by gjohnsit on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:27:24 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Very simple (4+ / 0-)

                    Tell a city that your company can manage the library more cheaply than the city can do so itself.  Then, after your for-profit company has a contract with the city, fire all the librarians, hire them back at lower salaries/wages and with worse benefits, start charging fees for everything that the public expects to receive at a library (raising late fees, the price for copies/faxes, charging parents for story time, movie time, and summer reading programs, charging to use the computers/print out resumes or letters, consult the reference desk, and so on), buy fewer and worse quality books, cut the hours of operation, charge for parking, charge community groups that use the library for meetings for the use of the community rooms....

                    In the long run it won't work.  But in the short run, which is all these companies care about?  Oh, most definitely.

                    Don't believe me?  Here:

                    http://www.seiu.org/...

                    https://inthesetimes.com/...

                    http://www.boston.com/...

                    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/...

                    This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

                    by Ellid on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:49:45 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  First, libraries aren't doomed (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                StrayCat, Debby, lostinamerica

                Not even close.  If anything, they're becoming MORE popular because they're functioning as community centers in a lot of places.

                Second, you clearly didn't see the diaries last year about private, for-profit library companies that are managing city-owned libraries by cutting the wages, benefits, and seniority of existing library workers.

                Good Lord, it was here on DKos!

                This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

                by Ellid on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:42:35 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  smile :-) (0+ / 0-)

                sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

                by Democrats Ramshield on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 02:56:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Libraries evolve into community centers (7+ / 0-)

            with low cost or no cost meeting rooms, free or low cost classes, free wi-fi, lending books students need at school, access to expensive online data.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 11:54:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  So, where would one go to look through the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat, Debby

            old plat maps, or 'closed' cemetery records, or microfische news papers from a hundred years ago, etc???

          •  Uh, no, that's not correct (0+ / 0-)

            At least in my area.  What?

            This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

            by Ellid on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:40:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think something will be needed... (0+ / 0-)

            It just needs to be determined what that is.  Obviously having some cavernous building to house all the books becomes less and less relevant each day.  The probably with e-book coops is you have to have an e-reader to use them. If you can't afford one, what do you do?

            I think there is some utility in transitioning libraries into technology centers or digital access centers with a range of computing and digital access points for people to come in and gather and access information. Those who have their own tech can use that on site, and for those who don't, terminals can be provided to grant access.

            I think the bottom line here is that, as I stated above, the digital revolution was supposed to increase access to information and knowledge, not restrict it to those with sufficient funds to own the required technology.

          •  Why are you hostile to a sense of the commons? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            StrayCat, Debby

            Libraries are shared resources. In rural MN schooll referenda often fail but propose a librarr expansion and people ask when will it be opened?

          •  Libraries are not just book storage buildings, but (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Debby

            Vital community centers where people communicate through presentations and meetings.  When we were organizing our community garden, the library was instrumental in getting people together, posting notices and other material.  The staff was very helpful, as they knew from their work who might be interested in participating, and present leaders in the garden development may not be here today without the library.

            Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

            by StrayCat on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:22:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  A couple of months ago (0+ / 0-)

        And I checked out a book.  

        This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

        by Ellid on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:39:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I really need to get downtown to see the new (0+ / 0-)

          library.  The last one flooded out in 2008 - took the entire collection with it, except childrens.  Temporary libraries had been set up in the mall that has more vacancies than tenants.  A year, or so, ago, they had to move out of the mall to someplace that wasn't as easy to access.

          I think the new library opened up in October.  What clips I've seen shows a big open space.  There's a particular section that I need to 'inspect' to see if it actually contains any history and not just 'picture' books.

          •  ALL the books? :( (0+ / 0-)

            What a tragedy!

            This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

            by Ellid on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 01:28:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The entire first floor, which contained all but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              StrayCat

              the Children's section, flooded in June 2008.  It is my opinion that "they" let it flood without even trying to save any of the books.  The head of the library said it was all replacable, which the plat maps, cemetery records, out of print books, microfische, etc are not replacable.  Color me pissed about that one.  They thought only a shelf level or two would go under.  But, the crest was at 31.2 feet (previous record was 19.6) and that meant a good 8 feet in the library.

      •  2-5 times a week (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StrayCat

        Our library has been expanding hours and has recently gone fine free.

        Our internet kiosks are usually full.....

      •  2 pm today. To return some books and then (0+ / 0-)

        get more. I go at least once a week.

        The bulletin board had a dozen community activities that are coming up in the next two weeks and will be held at the library. I don't go on Saturdays because the parking lot is always full and the building crowded with children.

        "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

        by Most Awesome Nana on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 03:56:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  led by university-endorsed RW radio stations (4+ / 0-)

    see link in sig-

    probably somewhere between 30 and 40% of RW radio stations that lead privatization teabagger efforts in every state have state funded college sports logos on their think tank coordinated megaphones.

    and are essentially ignored by the left.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:14:33 AM PST

  •  There was a group that tried to privatize (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mint julep, unfangus, Temmoku, jbob, StrayCat

    libraries in Colorado a number of years ago. Mayor Hickenlooper (now Governor) was able to keep all the libraries open. He did a fantastic job with that.
    Privatized libraries are one of the most undemocratic ideas I have come across. America seems to be on a crusade against education and free thought. This is right out of the Noam Chomsky playbook. Liberal education is for the ruling elite, technical education, engineers, accountants, computer programmers etc, are for the middle class, and vocational education for the rest. We would rather our children be poorly educated and compliant than turn into OWS protestors.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:27:43 AM PST

  •  A Hundred Years Ago (8+ / 0-)

    I recently helped to organize a centennial celebration for the library in Stanwood, Wa.

    Researching this, I found that the way this came about was purely a community undertaking and that the main effort was made by a group of women who were well to do, some or whom had university educations.  They represented the leadership of the region's mercantile and industrial builders.  

    The attitude behind it was entirely different.  One woman wrote an Op Ed piece in the local paper citing that the US graduation rate at the time was one and a half percent.

    One and a half percent!

    The women who persisted through ten years of effort to pursue the goal of establishing a public library for a very small town, were like those people in communities across the United States who promoted universal public education and the companion institution, the free public library.  In the letters and legal documents left over from founding the library, you see an assumption at work, which was that this was about the future and about the need for education in order to be a part of that future.  

    This is what created the middle class, through the decades since.

    Their effort made us possible.

    If you think about it, if the Tea Party's selfishness had been the predominant attitude, there probably never would have been these public institutions that came from the public organizing for the public.  

    What we need is to return to the founding era of the 20th century and consider the largeness of spirit and the optimism about the future they had.  We could use some of that.  When did our vision become so small?

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:38:58 AM PST

  •  Here in ky, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Temmoku, sow hat, StrayCat, Debby

    Tea partiers are suing the state that library taxes have been raised unconstitutionally.  If they win, funding for libraries across the state (not everywhere) will be cut to the bone or shut down.  But at least the anti tax idiots will have a couple more bucks to spend on lottery tickets.  

    "In 20 years, the GOP will be small enough to drown in a bathtub." - me

    by estamm on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:47:20 AM PST

  •  Even if libraries go digital... (12+ / 0-)

    ...librarians are needed and they should be paid more. Cutting library budgets makes no sense.  What we spend on libraries and librarians is a pittance compared to what we spend on defense.  Even at the state level there are many larger and far less useful budget items.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:59:22 AM PST

  •  While agree with the sentiment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Temmoku

    the title is hyperbolic.

    And this statement is just a red herring:

    Thanks to the GOP, Ann Coulter and her Tea Party ilk which are on a tirade to defund any and all socialized institutions
    ,

    It may be true that the GOP is trying to defund social institutions, but they are not the reasons that libraries are suffering.

    Just look at the graphic, solid blue states like California, New York, Minnesota, and Michigan... solid blue states were cutting funding. While solid red states like Missouri, Utah, ND, and SD.  Why is that?  It isn't due to an "attack on Libraries", but due to fiscal realities and cash strapped budgets.

    I have yet to hear anyone say "we don't need libraries", but when it comes down to it, if you ask a parent whether they would rather lay off two teachers, or put new computers in the school library (Something that was brought to my attention by Adams 12 schools in Colorado), which are they going to pick?

  •  Please explain to me (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellid, StrayCat, Debby, greengemini

    how you can separate libraries from education?

    Don't be afraid to use two syllable words. I'm a regular library patron.

    Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

    by Omir the Storyteller on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 10:57:52 AM PST

  •  Our libraries in San Diego County have expanded... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest

    ...since last year when I recall first reading a version of this diary. Budget cuts are not the same as closing and budget relief is happening already. Surely, that will vary regionally. I'm actually happily surprised that Louisiana still has libraries!

    Let it be known that public libraries are treasured assets in every town and while there may be a few that can be closed so the people are absorbed into bigger, better facilities near by expansion and technology investments are happening, certainly in LA and San Diego counties. Our library systems don't indicate they're in threat. Just the opposite - they're centers of community engagement, online access and e-libs and have integrated with the public college libraries.

  •  Libraries are a lifeline (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat, Debby, greengemini

    for people to stay in touch with the community and to keep their minds active, even when they are unable to read.

    I learned this over the past decade as my recently deceased dad lost his eyesight and turned to books on tape, later books on cd.  Even when his health did not allow him to do much else, his hearing remained acute, and he always had books and music.

    The local public library kept him well supplied over many years with histories, biographies, novels and more.  

    It was so important in sustaining his quality of life that we are encouraging donations the Friends of the Library in his memory.

    Budget cut have affected this library too in many ways. And I recognize that a few memorial donations are not the answer, but it is an acknowledgement of how vital libraries are to the life of our communities.  

    I may have  a chance to say something about that when we do a memorial service in the Spring.

  •  For people on the 'electronic books (4+ / 0-)

    make libraries unnecessary kick' they should remember that tomorrow we could have a Carrington-level event and there's no more fucking internet.

    Moreover, when the books are only electronic, censoring and altering them is much much easier for a centralized outlet (publisher or government) than it is gathering up all the hard copies everywhere and 'fixing' them.


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:45:13 PM PST

  •  Each and every day I become more thankful (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musiclady, StrayCat, greengemini

    I don't live in such backwater hell holes like Louisiana and the other southern states. Our library system is strong and has significant community support such that we recently authorized the extension of a property tax assessment to continue funding the library system. I use it regularly and I'm always pleased to see it very busy with all ages of patrons. The library is well equipped with computers, study rooms, an other facilities to support community projects. We also have a budget that is able to procure that latest releases of books, videos, and other materials.

    Its also good to know that cretins like Jindal and other teabagger types don't stand a chance of ever holding office is this progressive area.

    Oh my god, it's full of cheese! - 2001 first draft

    by sizzzzlerz on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 02:15:35 PM PST

  •  Libraries are the cornerstone of democracy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat, Debby, greengemini
  •  There indeed are libraries under attack (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat, greengemini

    We moved away from Albuquerque, NM a couple of years ago.

    Now we live in the Pacific Northwest, up the coast from Seattle. In this part of the country you get a sense that, although there are lots of anti-tax tightwads, there is also an atmosphere in which education is supported.  

    In New Mexico, there really is less general support for education and the city council in Albuquerque has been balancing the budget for years by moving qualified librarians out of the system and replacing them with temporaries and not hiring librarians to replace those that retired.

    In general, no one really says anything negative about libraries, but cut libraries while saying very positive things.  

    My sense of this, after watching this for several years and having the benefit of the comparison, is that libraries are part of a cultural sense of aspiration.  

    Does the community have a sense that no stone must be left unturned in the effort to achieve a more abundant future, or is there a sense that schools and libraries are kind of frills?

    You never get a clear cut answer.  But you can get the feeling that there are places where there is relatively better support for the general proposition that education is crucial to a better future.  There are places where you feel a sense of disappointment in leadership that doesn't get it.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 02:44:19 PM PST

  •  Good to see you back and posting DR (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat, greengemini

    I've been missing you.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 03:48:17 PM PST

  •  Ugh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Debby, greengemini

    $25 billion budget, and less than $1 million in library funding is too much to spend? Pathetic.

    Living is easy with eyes closed...

    by skybluewater on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:53:18 PM PST

  •  I get all my movies from the library. We... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini

    watch movies every Fri. & Sat. night, all free from the library.
    There are plenty of people in the library whenever I go (at least once a week). Many of them are on the free computers. Plus my library is a voting site.
    We also have a coupon exchange, of which I am a big participant. Coupons go in and out of a large plastic box.
    The librarians are all super-friendly.

    I share a birthday with John Lennon and Bo Obama.

    by peacestpete on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 05:20:49 PM PST

  •  Here in Gwinnett Dounty GA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife

    the system has cut hours a lot, and their book budget is non-existent. Usually I "rad out" the library and have to wait six months to find new books I haven't read--this time, there was nothing worth reading at all. Books by liberals? Get real; this is GA.  Books on any religion but Christianity? Forge it, unless it';s some Big Name Preacher ranting against Islam.

    I've spent the last 6 months depending on reading old books offered cheap on my e-book reader.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 05:54:12 PM PST

  •  Anything that serves the community (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Democrats Ramshield

    is anathema to the TeaThug mentality.  If they could find a way to cut off air (like in Total Recall--the GOOD one, with Ahnold), they would.  Because free air is like, socialist, and crap.

    Col. Brandt: "What do you think we'll do when we lose the war?" Capt. Kiesel: "Prepare for the next one." --from "Cross of Iron"

    by ConservatismSuxx on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 07:13:33 PM PST

  •  Without libraries (0+ / 0-)

    Where are the poor going to get internet access for free? After all, most of them can't afford a computer, much less pay for internet access at their homes. Find wifi hot spots? What if they don't know how to access those because they haven't been taught how to? What about those that are not as cognitively able?

    Libraries were my lifeline when I was young. I could escape my life in books. What will happen to those children who don't have that?



    Women create the entire labor force.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 08:04:31 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site