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Why We Should Fund Our Libraries

So this post was prompted by a decision where I live to cut provincial library funding  by 50%.  50%!!!!  That is absolutely UNTHINKABLE.  So instead of ranting my anger (which, believe me, I have in spades), I decided that I would take the high road and let loose a fury of love for libraries.

There is no more exciting place for a bookophile than a library.  It is even more thrilling than a bookstore because – drumroll please…- the book are FREE!  It’s like being on an episode of Oprah’s Favourite Things (“YOU get a book!  And YOU get a book!  EVERYBODY GETS A BOOK!!!).  Let me tell you, when you read 70+ books a year, free is not only a good thing, it is absolutely essential.  MOST of the reading I have done over the course of my life would not have been possible without a library.  So far this year, I have saved over $1300 JUST by using the library!  (They are absolute geniuses who print it right on my reciept.)

Libraries close the gap between economically diverse populations.  They provide oppurtunity and access to everyone.  With a library card, people can access books, information, the Internet…all of which may not be possible in their own homes.  Everybody knows that libraries promote a more literate society.  And that a literate society is a more educated society.  And an educated society is a healthier society IN EVERY WAY.  So less is spent on the Justice system, the Healthcare system, and so on.  See where I’m  going with this???

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The Blind Date with a Book event at my local library.

Not only do libraries provide books that are desperately needed (and EXPENSIVE!  I can’t imagine buying every book I read.  WHAT A WASTE!   I’m not going to reread the majority of them again!), those angelic library staff members are busy planning so many more community engagement activities!  My local library hosts a book club, meeting and theatre space for various organizations, programming for children nearly every day, and a whole slew of other things that I am not even aware of!

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Libraries don’t make money, it’s true.  They ENRICH LIVES!  They bring literature and education to so many people who would otherwise be unable to access it.  They allow us to take risks with our reading because we don’t have to shell out $20-30 EVERY TIME we want to read something.  I would read a FRACTION of the books I do if that were the case.  And I would understand a FRACTION of the things that I understand.  (And yes, I realize that I am using an excess of capitals here, but passion needs an outlet and apparently the CAPS lock is it…)

When I go to my local library, I see a peaceful environment where people are reading books, using computers, meeting to share ideas.  Libraries are a community hub where everyone is welcome.  Last year, my provincial libraries issued over 1200 new library cards.  There were 22,000 searches on their online database of materials.  You can’t tell me that libraries are falling out of fashion!  If anything, we need them more right now.

I am thankful to our libraries for being places of advancement and enlightenment.  I am indebted to the librarians and other professionals who spend their working hours bettering the place that is my go-to for peace, entertainment, and education.  My children have endlessly perused their shelves, I read for countless hours with my older daughter while my youngest slept as an infant in her carseat.  We didn’t have a lot of money back then (not that we do now either)  but the library was a place we could go and be together, have fun.  From preschool storytime to Saturday afternoon movies to live performances to reading challenges, the library has certainly been among the places in the centre of our lives.

I am going to support my library any way I can.  I suggest that anyone who does not want to see these institutions railroaded by corporate nonsense do the same.  Three cheers for libraries!

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