Friday, January 12, 2007

Taken for Granted

In a Albuquerque Tribune commentary "Just like libraries", writer Stevie Olson compares public transit as a public good, like libraries, which should be funded because it's a public good. OK so far, but then she says:

Public libraries never bring in revenue, but we do not scream to have them boarded up, shut down and the contents auctioned off. Instead, voters continue to support libraries as essential resources and important institutions, even if the majority of us rarely set foot in one.
I replied, in a comment to the newspaper website:
Transit is certainly deserving of support, but let us not take public libraries for granted.

To say: "voters continue to support libraries as essential resources and important institutions, even if the majority of us rarely set foot in one" is fallacious in two respects.

First, voters see libraries as essential resources, yet many libraries are seeing year after year of budget cuts despite continuous increases in library use. Second, most people, at least in my town, use libraries. That does not stop politicians from cutting library funding nor the many cries of the ignorant that libraries are obsolete and irrelevant in the Internet age.

Maybe it's just Friday, but it's a bit discouraging to assume that we're getting the support that we need, when we know we're not, and even more so when people assume we're going unused. I must be ready for the weekend.

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