Why should you care about the selectmen’s proposed cuts to our public library?
Perhaps you haven’t stepped foot in a public library in years. Perhaps you find everything you think you need on Google. Perhaps you hated to read as a kid and only read on the computer or newsletters that come to your house.
From the librarian’s viewpoint, that’s ok. It’s not great, but it’s understandable. However, I’m sorry I wasn’t your school librarian. We had fun in our library. My students hula-hooped, learned photography, used a greenscreen, belonged to chess club, belonged to tech club, belonged to book groups, and they read what they wanted to read. When I was a public librarian we had pet shows, visits from Santa, pumpkin carving, art shows, story hours, and used book sales. The library is much more than the books on the shelves. Much like what we have in our own New Gloucester Public Library.
The public library is in a unique position to create a safe space for all. Offering books, Free WiFi (and tech help), CDs, DVDs, magazines, newspapers, programming, special events, audiobooks, e-books, and special collections such as cake pans and cooking equipment. The public library is available for everyone in the community. It is a community center. Cutting the hours disrespects the needs of all community members. Cutting the staff is short-sighted.
Much like the Fire & Rescue Department, it is there whether you need it or not. Frankly, I would rather you needed the library.
Cutting back the library hours and staff is like cutting off your nose to spite your face as my mother would have said.
Perhaps, you are a voracious reader. You have read everything on the shelves at NGPL and you practically live at the library. Ok, that’s great! When you use the library, you check out a book, use the Cloud Library, access renewal online, access the Maine State Databases, use the Internet, attend a program or book club, book the meeting room for a private one hour meeting, read the newspaper, have Inter-Library Loan books delivered from all across the state, or ask for tech help. How much money does this save you over a year? Check out this form for calculating your savings. I find the values to be conservative, your actual savings may be higher.h
Here is a screenshot of my savings! I didn’t buy my books on Amazon or other online retailer. I don’t overburden the USPS with boxes to deliver. I don’t need a subscription to an online audiobook service. I didn’t need to use Netflix as often. I saved in so many ways. Conservatively, I can say I saved $1,550 last year.
Take the survey. Calculate your savings – or calculate what your savings would have been had you used the library more often. Let me know how much you saved.
Stay informed about the budget process that wants to limit your use of this local community resource: YOUR PUBLIC LIBRARY
What can you do? Attend the budget meeting currently scheduled for March 16th.