The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Editorials

June 18, 2009

Editorial: Library funding nearing dire straits

Anderson Public Library officials have done as much as possible for a city our size in promoting the value of the facility at 111 E. 12th St. and its satellite in Lapel.

Like most libraries, they have built an efficient Web site that allows patrons to donate funds online and they hold a monthly book sale sponsored by Friends of the Library. They’ve done quite a bit to put the library into our lives.

But still library director Sarah Later is forewarning us that there’s not enough property tax money coming into the budget. Cuts are likely with the budget shrinking from $5.2 million to $4 million next year.

Earlier this year, the library took immediate preparations by lowering the temperature and canceling 15 newspaper and 75 magazine subscriptions, among others.

Forthcoming cuts could see the closing of library services to Lapel, a frightening proposal that would save up to $300,000. Other likely reductions could end the Bookmobile, a $71,000 option that might work only in connection to school visits and as long as school libraries don’t face more cuts. Staff cuts and reducing hours are likely.

Unless we want our children to glean their knowledge from the Internet (and the often one-sided, sometimes useless Wikipedia), we need to keep books and other research tools available to students. We need families to continue to pick up DVDs and CDs in hopes their children will begin picking up reading materials.

We can urge the library board to continue to seek grants and other funding opportunities, but those won’t cover millions that may be lost from state coffers.

Instead, it is time to write state legislators and show them we have to care for current patrons and for the intellectual future of our children. Call the Indiana House at (800) 382-9842 or the Senate at (800) 382-9467 and ask for your legislator. Better yet, look up their e-mail in the list below and at www.in.gov. Send a quick note in support of library funding.

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