After finding out that the public library is looking at closing two of it's last 3 branches, I attended a meeting tonight to voice my opinions and concerns, and to offer a solution or two. I found out some interesting facts that I want to share.
1. The Indiana Library Association requires all branches to opperate 64 hours a week.
2. The Library made budget cuts of 500 thousand dollars this past January.
3. The State required an additional 801 thousand dollars be cut. That's a total of 1.3 million dollars of cuts this year.
4. Closing the two branches will not cover the short fall.
5. The local gambling boat brings in 39 million in revenue for the city.
6. The money from the boat goes to projects headed by, our mayor, our counsilmen at large, and our district counsilmen. All of whom are not able or willing to help fund our city's library.
So the question now asked of all these busy people is how passionate are we? Are we passionate enough to reagrange our lives to find a solution to keep our libraries open? The obvious answer has to be yes! For so many reasons I am not going to go into, we must find a way to keep these branches open. So as I see it there are a few things that must be accomplished.
(In no particular order)
Find out the annual opperating cost of the library system.
Talk to our district counsilman, the counsilman at large, and the mayor about where the 39 million goes each year.
Talk to the library association about reviewing their policies on an annual basis and ask them to wave the 64 hour requirement.
Approach local businesses about sponsoring the library to try and exceed the libraries annual opperating cost by $50 thousand to $100 thousand.
3% of $39 million is $1.1+ million.
We benefit from libraries. From being able to do research, job hunt, borrow books to community meetings and the like. Giving our youth a safe place to gather and keeping them off the streets. Somewhere, as one of my sons said at the meeting, where you can be yourself.
So if you live in an area where they are experiencing the shortfall of money for the library, you may concider, the question -- How passionate are you? Are you willing to make a change or simply allow whatever happens to happen and be content in complaining about it when it does? As for me, I will stand to fight to keep this community resource open and functioning.