Tuesday, June 23, 2009

By the Book

I don't normally step away from the kitchen (figuratively speaking) on this blog, unless it's to review some food-related books that caught my eye. But a colleague of mine (Mr. Clean) brought this to my attention, and it's too important to skip:

Save Ohio Libraries

Times are tough -- we all know that. But when the economy slides downward, governments look for ways to cut budgets, often cutting into vital public services.

Libraries fall into that nebulous category of "not absolutely essential" because people don't associate librarians with acts of heroism (like they do with the police and the fire departments). But libraries do provide essential services, especially in difficult economic times:

--free entertainment (books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, newspapers) to keep your mind off your woes

--free Internet, so you can search for job postings, file for unemployment benefits, keep up with the news

--free classes on writing resumes, writing grants, food preservation, and so much more

--free help in answering a wide assortment of reference questions

I'm not telling you this just because I work in a library. My work with the public is limited, but I have tremendous respect for those librarians and library staff who meet, greet, and assist citizens every hour, every day. They get a lot of crazy questions, difficult situations, and constant bureaucratic turmoil thrown at them, but through it all, they provide superb service in educating our communities, and they do it because they believe in helping and educating others.

That's heroism to me.

So while I might point you to two of my latest book reviews over at the Ethicurean (one on Fresh: A Perishable History and one on my favorite food preservation books), I also want to point you in the direction of your nearest public library. They have so much to offer -- and they're hurting.

What are you waiting for? Book it!

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At 6/24/2009 5:53 PM, Anonymous Janet said...

I read recently (can't recall where; sorry) that libraries are one institution whose business has soared in the down economy. Cutting their budgets makes ZERO sense. Love my library.

At 6/24/2009 9:08 PM, Blogger Tara said...

We were just crushed when we read the notice on the local library site and I immediately sent emails off to all the links provided encouraging a serious reconsideration of this budget cut. As a homeschool family it seems we nearly live at the library. Our district provides no homeschool programming but those great folks at the library were happy to put something together at our request: a teen homeschool book group. And, of course, I save a heap on curriculum materials by requesting materials through the library loan system. We also attend various lecture series and count those towards school.
I stopped in to chat with some of my librarian friends shortly after I found out about the cuts and the really pathetic thing is that public library use is soaring in this economy. Circulations are up; so is program attendance and computer use for job searches, etc.
Our family is hopeful that there will be enough public outcry to stop the extreme cuts Gov. Strickland has proposed.

At 6/25/2009 7:05 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Good for you, Tara! I confess I've been so swamped this week that I haven't sent off my letters, so I must do that soon. You're absolutely right -- use is UP, which makes this a particularly poor time to cut funding. So many libraries report that they're serving as a sort of job center, helping people find their way through the employment maze, and the programs I've seen at the local library are trying to address other economic needs, too, like food preservation.

At 6/25/2009 7:05 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Amen to that, Janet!

At 6/25/2009 11:30 AM, Blogger Green Bean said...

So sad that places like libraries and state parks are feeling the crunch - especially when, in this economy, people are turning to these places more and more.


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