Monday, June 14, 2004

Donate your tax refund to your local library

This comes a bit late, but if you're wondering what to do with excess cash, think "LIBRARY." Your local public library will appreciate some funding. Most libraries today are severely underfunded, and many are understaffed. It takes money to payroll employees who can acquire, process and circulate materials, and these days it takes employees who understand and use technology as second nature. Libraries need funding to train and refresh staff, and to acquire new and updated technologies as they are released.

All these needs are so basic to meet public demands, but demands far exceed practical applications when budgets are hammered out in municipalities across the land. My own public library solicits funds and books, and must be content with a collection that contains lots of outdated materials. For both public and academic libraries today, the purchase of periodicals has become a nightmare as the subscription prices go dramatically higher and higher, and the library budgets go lower and lower. "Level funding" is the operative term for library budgeting these days, which of course means lower materials acquisitions, and less to offer patrons! Librarians are like teachers; they really care about their jobs and they go beyond the call of duty to serve. Librarians do all they can with less then they deserve, and the only ones to suffer are the public in search of information and education - the tools they need for functioning in the world today.

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