Posted by Lori Ayre on January 25, 2011

Dear Governor Brown,

Every other time we’ve faced budget shortfalls that result in service reductions, disenfranchised and poor people have always been able to count on libraries to access email, get on the Internet, and to find critical information.  Your proposal to cut services AND close libraries hits people with the least the hardest.  And it doesn’t save a cent.

People who can’t afford an Internet connection count on the library to look for jobs, apply for jobs,  and to prepare resumes.  What will they do when they can’t do that in the library anymore?  How will they find work?

People who can’t afford to go to the doctor or hire a lawyer, rely on the library to find critical information about their health or their immigration status or perhaps how to deal with a domestic violence or child custody situation.  What will they do when they can’t use the library resources or get help finding free services from the librarian on staff?

People who can’t read or are just learning English rely on library for learning English, learning about how to become a citizen and learning to read.  Where will they find these services if not the library?

Kids with working parents (if they even have two parents) flood the libraries after school.  They read, they do homework, they play games.  They remain safe until their parents pick them up after work.  Where will those kids go if not the library?  How do you suppose it will affect their safety?  How do you think it will affect their schoolwork?  How many of those kids will fall in with a “different” crowd?  And who will suffer?  All of us will.

The libraries are as critical to our communities’ survival as the police and fire departments.  Don’t treat them like their are optional or discretionary.  It only hurts the people who are already hurting the most.  And ultimately we all pay more for their loss.