Thursday, July 5, 2012

Springfield and Shutesbury Woes

Two items on the agenda this evening.

First off, concerning the branch closings in the City of Springfield. I recieved an email update on a proposal for an addition of a $5 trash fee to pay to keep the branches open. This is why I don't vote Democrat. It sounds great on paper, but in reality it won't work. For starters there is no guarantee that the money will be directed to the library system. OK, sure, this time around they keep the branches open, but a couple of budgets down the road those branches will be on the chopping block again. That extra $200,000 (proposed figures) will be spent somewhere else and the people will be stuck paying the added fee.

So, while I support my public library, I have to say that this is not the answer. On one hand it is not fair to those that do not use the library. Yes, many people pay taxes of which some of those revenues go to pay for services that they do not directly use. I understand this. However, this proposal is specific. There is going to be resistance to it. It runs the risk of making people angry at the library system. It is sad to say, but not many people out there are civic-minded anymore (for a diverse amount of reasons). And on the other hand, it is like I said earlier the money will be wasted on projects of a different intent. Just look at the tolls on the Mass Pike if you don't believe me. They were supposed to be removed decades ago. The government will never give up a tax, fee or fine - ever. So don't be fooled into believing that this trash fee proposal is going to save the day.

What you need to do is prove to the city that those branches are needed. People need to organize and use the branches. Cite statistics. Tell stories. If the city feels that those branches are necessary they will be kept open. Or you just wait for the national economy to pick back up and the branches can be re-opened then.

Second item, Shutesbury, It appears that their new library will not be constructed as it was proposed. After much political infighting, votes, appeals, lawyers fees and I think at one point they were throwing melted ice-cream cones at each other it is done. I guess that I have  more time to visit their quaint little library.

Read the story here in Karen's Library History Blog:

On this note I am sad. The state funding was in place to take a majority of the burden. Still though, this is where I have to say it is on us as library supporters to go out and make the case. The cities and towns need to feel that these places are indespensible. Shutesbury was split right down the middle on this. If just a few of those families were willing to support the proposal it would be a different story. Support for libraries is not a left / right / democrat / republican issue. This is local issue and it is fought in the hearts and minds of your neighbors and friends.

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