Libraries...More than Just a Bunch of Books

Sherrill Fulghum By Sherrill Fulghum, 13th Jan 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/29dr3sc5/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

Libraries have long housed books, but they are much more than that...and the first place politicians want to cut.

The Importance of Libraries

Just as the school board cuts the music and arts classes; the politicians head first to libraries and cultural groups whenever the words budget cut appears. They all seem to fail in understanding how important...and essential...those programs are to the well being of the citizenry.

A recent article in my local newspaper spoke of budget cuts and eliminating personnel and services at the library. The library, which includes two branches, has not had an increase in their operating budget since 2011.

There was a time when the library housed only books; books mainly for research by learned men. Books of law. Books on the sciences. And books of literature. Books that even for the most wealthy citizens would find it hard to obtain and maintain.

This was also a time when printing was done by hand and only a few copies of any book could be reproduced.

Today libraries are about much more than books. Libraries are a place where people go to check out books, find a good movie to watch, pick up a CD of music, read the newspaper, and spend a little time on the computer. For some the library is a place to escape the outside elements of bitter cold or horrid heat. Some libraries offer various programs and classes where people can learn something new.

One of the budget cuts included at my local library was to eliminate the teen program director – the only person in the teen department. There is a children's department and an adult section but what about the teens???

Many schools now require their students to read for a certain amount of time each day. School libraries only have so much room for books and students must turn to other sources to find their books. What are they supposed to do if the local public library is not available?

In order to make budget cuts, some libraries have limited their hours, severely limiting the amount of time a person can access the library.

With access to the internet, people can find out almost anything; but there are still times when a book in the hand is the best source of information. There have been times when I could not find a piece of historical information in newer publications and turned to the older books for what I needed. Where else can one go but the library for such things?

And when it comes to local history the library is the absolute best place to find information. My local library has a local history department but it is open only a couple of days each week for a few hours.

The library is much more than a place to house books; it is a place for community gatherings, sometimes it is the place where people go to vote, it is a place for learning, and it is a place to teach...

I often wonder if the politicians will ever learn the importance of music, arts, and libraries; and how the enhance the community as a whole.

Tags

Budget Cuts, Libraries, Politicians

Meet the author

author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
Sherrill is an award winning journalist with a speciality in music and entertainment. She is also a photographer.

Sherril is a writer for thedailyvoice news.com

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Comments

author avatar Retired
13th Jan 2015 (#)

Having held jobs in libraries for the past 40 years, I am naturally concerned by the current trend to save money by cutting libraries.

I am part of a team that is trying to save a local public library by volunteering our services. Volunteers are needed all over the country (I refer to the UK) and I would urge like-minded people to consider offering their services.

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author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
13th Jan 2015 (#)

The library here is a unionbuilding and people can't even volunteer. They are admittedly short staffed, yet will not accept free help.

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author avatar Retired
13th Jan 2015 (#)

In the UK, the staff are being laid off and communities told that - if they want to keep their libraries - they will have to staff them themselves.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th Jan 2015 (#)

Tongue in cheek, he replies "Teens are just children". Hmm... that argument does not hold water when it comes to reading tastes.

The attack on libraries has been ongoing and it is part of a process that downgrades the value of books as a whole, and it seems to be ingrained in our education systems.

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author avatar Grant Peterson
15th Jan 2015 (#)

I owe a lot to libraries - they are great places to perform research into certain subjects and I have been to some that include a coffee shop within them, which certainly helps when you have a lot of research to carry out.

One thing I have noted more recently is that the reference parts to most libraries has been cut with old books being sold and new editions not being purchased.

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author avatar Retired
16th Jan 2015 (#)

Grant, The argument is that you can get all the facts you want off the Internet, so why do you need books? I have long argued that this is a mistaken view, but not many people seem to agree with me!

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author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
16th Jan 2015 (#)

To help prove your point John, years ago I was asked to cover a band named 54-40. I knew that there was some significance to the name but didn't know what. A trip to the library was in order and lo and behold every encyclopdia was a new edition and didn't have any information on the name. An old encyclopdia found in the children's department gave me what I needed. New isn't always the answer.

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author avatar Eve Sherrill York
16th Jan 2015 (#)

It's just crazy to limit any access teens might have. And yes, I agree with you new is not always the answer. I had a series of book(three) when I was younger that I had gotten somewhere. They were dates in the 20's and had some hard to find children's stories in them. I loved t hemand read them over and over. I don't know what ever became of them. To heck with the new fangled ones I had. I liked the old ones.

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