Have you been checking out more books, cds and movies? You’re part of a local and national trend. Libraries are experiencing renewed relevance as people look for ways to ease their personal budgets and find critical resources.
These words from a single mother in Ballard mirror the stories of many people rediscovering their neighborhood library: I have not had internet at my house since August 2007, I got laid off in July 2007. I get to the library 4 or 5 times a week for the purpose of using computers related to my job search. I check email for potential communications from employers, check online job postings, and research potential employers. We don’t have money for video rental either and my son reads voraciously so the library is great!
What does the nation’s most literate city do in a recession? We go to the library. Between 2007 and 2008 Seattle Public Library materials circulation increased 20%. That was nearly twice the State average. January ’09 stats indicate a 17% increase over January ’08 suggesting another year of heavy demand.
Seattle showed vision in passing the Libraries For All bond issue that expanded and rennovated the library system. Now we’re relying on access to that investment to ease our personal budgets and improve our lives.
Friends of The Seattle Public Library is calling on you to write to councilmembers asking them to preserve library funding now. As you know the City needs to cut 40 million dollars from the new City Budget. We’ve had communication from at least one councilmember who says “my expectation is that libraries and parks/community centers will be forced to shoulder a painful share of the necessary cuts.” Cuts effect every neighborhood and may impact the hours our libraries can open or the resources that are available for our needs.
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Stay tuned to this website for frequent updates during budget deliberations.