Monday, March 8, 2010

Library Privileges

Did you know that in some countries one cannot remove books from the library?

Did you know that in some countries one cannot even USE the library if one is not a dues-paying member?

Many years ago I knew some people who immigrated from Peru. One of the most surprising (but delightful) things to them was that their children could actually take books home from the library to read with their parents. These parents wanted their children checking out as many books in English as possible so that the whole family would become proficient in English as soon as possible.

It worked.  All three of those children earned full scholarships to an Ivy League university. They truly became part of the "American Dream."

Now, we at Reston Friends don't think that the Fairfax County Supervisors are targeting the library budget because they don't believe in the good the libraries do. We think they're overwhelmed by the demands of the squeaky wheels. If no one speaks on behalf of the libraries, the libraries will die, little by little.

Next weekend is supposed to be rainy. If you're not doing much, stop by any library in the system on Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  Take a look around. See how many newly-aspiring Americans are using the library. Look at the computer terminals. How many of those spots are filled by people of different hues? The blogger spent some time this Sunday afternoon at another library in our system, across the county. I saw there what I see at Reston -- every spot filled by people receiving tutoring, students studying, people doing research, and many of them were speaking (quietly) languages other than English.

The strength of Fairfax County is in our embracing the diversity of our population, and providing everyone the tools and opportunities to succeed. The families that are spending their time in the libraries on the weekends are the ones who are stepping up to that opportunity, gratefully and diligently.

Less than 1%.  That's the ENTIRE Fairfax County Public Library budget. That has to be spread between 22 branches. And the County Executive thinks it's a luxury?

Contact your county supervisor today!  If you live in Reston, that's Cathy Hudgins.

As the immortal Yogi Berra said, "it ain't over 'til it's over."

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Our county "leadership" does not value libraries. Libraries are an inexpensive, efficient provider of educational and literacy access to all - this is what the "leaders" choose to cut. All the incredible waste in government spending and the library system, which is efficiently run, provides a huge return on investment, and is a safety net to struggling families, is cut to the bone. It is mind boggling. The Board of Supervisors should be ashamed of themselves.