As a child I always fostered a love of books and in particular the library, whether it was the school library or the public library. I remember a fondness for the librarian in the public library who always saw my penchant for reading and allowed me to borrow books above my age limit. These I devoured greedily, enjoying the exposure to new vocabulary and new scenery.
However, in reviewing the State of American Libraries Report 2013, as well as seeing such trends firsthand, it both saddens and angers me at the same time that libraries have to suffer budget cuts in light of the recession.
In most cases, even in the corporate environment, governing bodies always see the information needs of its citizens, including its future leaders, as insignificant. Have they not considered the importance of the library to their own children? Although books have become more readily available to the masses, there are still families that cannot afford to support themselves, far less to splurge on a book to read bedtime stories to their children.
I can still remember as a child being read stories and poems by my mother such as “Pat a Cake” and “There Once Was a Puffin”. With 73% of Americans using their libraries to borrow books it would indeed be a tragedy when such statistics dwindle due to the fact that they have read most of the books on the shelves or because the libraries can hardly afford to purchase new materials.
Also with most school libraries being shut down due to a lack of funding one can only foresee the dreaded consequence of children not fostering their love for books or the creation of stories which usually leads to the expansion of imagination. No longer would they be guided by a kind librarian in reading and other fun activities. Those librarians who would also be responsible for instilling reasearch skills with benefits such as better learning and grades would be a notably scarce staple in many societies.
It is indeed a shame to see that those guiding the way are those with the myopic point of view.
The Report can be accessed on the American Library Association website using the link below: (Read it and weep. 😦 Seriously!)