Friday, June 4th, 2010
3 of LREI’s 4 librarians have public library backgrounds. We have worked in all three systems, and have personally witnessed how important the public libraries are to a large segment of New York City’s population. The libraries are facing the harshest budget cuts in history, and if the numbers hold true over 1400 people will lose their jobs, 40 libraries will see their doors closed, and the libraries that remain open will have a drastic reduction in hours.
The public libraries provide more than a place to check out books. Free and equal access to information for anyone who comes through the door. There are computer classes, ESL classes, resume workshops, job seeking courses, reading groups, arts and crafts clubs, summer reading clubs, homework help and the list goes on an on.
We let the 4th graders in on what is happening in the city and they were very upset. We decided to become a part of the Save NYC Libraries Postcard Campaign with students creating postcards to mail in, outlining their ideas on why libraries are so important.
“Some people don’t have a lot of books and they can go to the library.”
“I do homework in the libraries.”
“It’s unfair that 1498 people will lose their jobs!”
“Without their jobs, how are they going to support their families?”
“Many people do not have a computer at home and they can come to the library to take classes.”
“I love to read and I love to experience the pleasure of sitting in a nice friendly place (like a library) with a book!”
“Also, many schools do not have libraries and they depend on public libraries for their reading.”
To quote the New York Times:
When world-class libraries fall the people who suffer most are the ones with the least power: the poor, children, and teenagers. Along with the loss of education and services, the closing of libraries is a loss of public place where all are treated with respect and dignity, where culture has value, and where thought is encouraged. [see "Library Cuts Could Hurt Manga Mania in Queens", NYTimes, May 16, 2010]
To find more information on the postcard campaign please follow this link.