"It's funny that we think of libraries as quiet demure places where we are shushed by dusty, bun-balancing, bespectacled women. The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community. Libraries have stood up to the Patriot Act, sat down with noisy toddlers and reached out to illiterate adults. Libraries can never be shushed."
Unfortunately, libraries being shushed might just happen. Reading page 15 of the current issue of the Suffolk Times about Governor Patterson's proposed budget calls for cutting 17%, $600,000.00, from the Suffolk Cooperative Library System and the possibility of the Southold Town Board cut of $10,000.00 from its budget, libraries will face a hardship. Go to page 25 and there is a listing of what libraries are offering.
There is the saying that "libraries will get you through in a time of no money, but money won't get you through in a time of no libraries." With the economic times we are experiencing libraries fill a need more then ever. People have to cut back on things to make ends meet and the library helps fill that void. We have the daily newspapers, current issues of many (many) magazines, latest DVDs and Cd's, and the books on the best sellers list. Libraries run numerous Children's' programs, adult programs, exercise classes, wireless access, training classes (How to write a resume is one that is full), Mah Jongg....I could go on and on but the point being, a library is a vital part of a community and has a lot to offer. Next Saturday, March 14 at 3pm is author Alan Furst who is one of the best spy novelist writing today. (Spy readers! Treat yourself to an Alan Furst novel if you haven't.)
Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones commented "...the public library is a great equalizer." True. With a library card you have the world at your fingertips. You are entitled to whatever your mood feels like. Want to go to the Middle East...check out a book, fiction, non-fiction or a travel book...don't forget a DVD! Take a trip back in time? History is there to feed your soul. Science fiction? Your library has the latest and best. A particular person whose life you want to know about? Come on in and find a biography. A library card is your window to the world, take it, use it, empower your world.
"Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest." Lady Bird Johnson
Curiosity is a wonderful thing. Reading a book can satisfy that curiosity or it can make it grow. How great is that? To have a question and be able to find the answer. If you can't find it yourself, you can ask anyone at a library and they will find your answer for you. One of the main purposes is to share any and all information
Pete Hamill said, "For those without money, the road to the treasure house of the imagination begins at the public library." These are the times we are in, I ask again, in these economic times to even consider cutting library funding, therefore cutting services, accomplishs what? What it does is hurt the community and the people who rely on the library to help them though these tough times and the provide them with some of the pleasures a library gives them.
Don't take your library for granted. Libraries have a petition to send to Albany asking for a reversal of the possible budgets, please stop by and sign it. As Paula Poundstone said so well, libraries shouldn't be shushed, nor should it be made difficult to serve the purposes Benjamin Franklin wanted them to.