Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Library Travels

Just returned from a trip to San Diego, CA. When I'm traveling, I always try to visit the local public library, but ran out of time during this trip. At an independent book store, I did ask the shop owner where the SDPL was, but she lamented that it probably wasn't worth the visit. Apparently the citizens of SD have been lobbying for a new main branch for many years (the shop owner said 15), but it hasn't come through. For a city as beautiful, well-off and educated as SD, I was surprised that the system wasn't supported as well as it could be. Maybe this is part of the problem?

"San Diego leaders are now finding themselves staring at a deficit of more than $2 billion, largely of their own creation... Residents are feeling the pinch, and they are asking why. It costs more to swim in the city's pools; some public libraries are cutting hours; potholes are virtually ignored; Christmas in the city was temporarily canceled when lack of funds forced organizers to call off a popular holiday celebration featuring free admission to museums and cultural exhibits." Washington Post, September 13, 2004.

It's occured to me that public libraries need to figure out a way to protect ourselves better from public administrators' whims. Perhaps it's building in an independence from the city budget, if possible. I don't know. But it's made me sad to see all of the press about the dismal state of library budgets across the nation - Ohio, California, etc. And the thing is, knowing librarians, those that are affected by the budget cuts are going on with their jobs as best they can, but are brokenhearted at how public administrators and lawmakers rank the importance of libraries.


Blogger ...robin said...

I suspect it might, ironically, be because so many residents are rich - they have all the resources they need, without going to no stinkin' library and sharing stuff with the common herd...

1:12 PM  
Blogger michelle said...

The April 1, 2005 Library Journal just ran an article on the San Diego Main Branch getting an $80M boost. I'm glad to be proven wrong in this case! It cites that the $149.5M new main library is one shcedule. Yay!

9:31 AM  
Blogger Swimming Freak said...

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6:21 AM  

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