The Massachusetts Studies Network

Public Libraries - too important to fail

The Boston Public Library Board of Trustees recently voted to close 4 branches and cut 94 jobs. Throughout the Commonwealth, public libraries are struggling to stay afloat, and some aren't succeeding.

Public libraries are the heart of our communities and provide a wide range of services that strengthen civic life and engagement, support intellectual freedom and privacy, provide access to information for all, including the under-served and for those on the down side of the digital divide - WE NEED STRONG PUBLIC LIBRARIES!

I know I'm preaching to the choir here in MSN, but we need to do more than feel sad and frustrated that our libraries are under siege. Many of us are probably burnt-out on the wear and tear of political engagement, but there has to be something we can do collectively to stop the madness and help get our priorities in order. Libraries are 'too important to fail'. So, what to do?

The exhortation below to contact legislators is certainly not the answer but it's a modest stake in the ground.

So let's start. And then keep going way until we get it right.

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A recent letter from the ALA:

Dear Joanne,


Libraries across Massachusetts need your support this week!


This week is National Library Week, a perfect time for you to send a quick e-mail to you state legislators and governor to let them know how important libraries are to you!


Libraries are in a perfect storm. They are busier than ever helping families survive during these tough economic times, yet public, school, and academic libraries are facing closures and elimination of librarians and library
workers—the people who help those with a job application, teach 21st century
skills, and nurture the love of reading in kids that will serve them the rest of
their lives.


State governments provide much needed funding for libraries to provide public access to the Internet for everyone, databases for individuals and small businesses, homework help, and much more. Without this funding, libraries are in
peril, and residents in Massachusetts are denied critical resources when they
need them most.


Please send an e-mail to your governor and your representatives today, and pass this message on to your friends and colleagues.


Thank you for advocating for libraries and library staff in Massachusetts.


Sincerely,

Michael Dowling
Director, Chapter Relations Office
American Library Association


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