by Democrats Ramshield
(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
Did you know that the library is America's last truly socialized institution and that everyday you come a bit closer to losing it! As a male who is a business librarian, (that is to say someone who holds graduate degrees in library science and an MBA degree in marketing), I understand very well that fee for service in America's library systems are creating a class of information have-nots. For some of you this means that your children aren't going to be able to read as well. It also means that as voters in a democracy, you will no longer be as well informed without full library services. As the series, the American dream vs the European dream which I was able to generously publish with the support of the Daily Kos community, we have seen that we cannot depend on the plutocrat owned radio and television media. Sometimes we have to go to print sources, even international print sources of the variety and scope that you can't possibly afford as an individual to subscribe to them all. Additionally libraries make online databases available to their patrons that allow you with the touch of a button to read international media sources from around the globe. You're in the process of losing this all and a lot more.
Now let's ask why should you be interested in defending America's last truly socialized institution? Well, let's get down to it shall we? So you don't think the library is a completely socialized institution. Well, let's talk about the theory of a library for just one minute, which is everyone who walks in the door and holds a library card has access completely to the same services. It doesn't matter if they're the mayor or a homeless person. Everyone in the library is supposed to be treated the same. It is the one place in America where equality doesn't just get lip service. The American Library Association has produced a wonderful statement called the Freedom to Read Statement wherein it is believed that your freedom to read comes directly from the first amendment of the constitution of the United States. You're about to lose that and that's pretty darn important.
You can think of the library as a repository of everyone who has ever thought and everyone who has ever written! That's a lot to lose access to.
Now we know that by in large, we are not really in tight budget times at all but rather we know that a lot states have ran up artificial deficits just like in Wisconsin wherein they give tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporations and then try to balance the budget on the backs of working class Americans and their unions. So it is that library systems all over America are running out of money and this is in danger of tearing the guts out of the last truly socialized institution in America, where everyone is supposed to be equal and it is in danger of creating a division in the population of the information haves and have-nots.
L.A. Weekly - L.A.'s Library Measure L
Literacy among adults and children in the information age is the lynch pin to education, retraining and full employment. No institution in America does more to support literacy than your friendly neighborhood library. I'm not just talking about story hour and reading programs for children but serious efforts in supporting young adults and working adults literacy and continued education efforts. Let's understand that there is a strong correlation between literacy rates and crime. That is say that most people in America and there are over 2 million of them who are in jails and prisons traditionally suffer from low literacy rates. Why is it that America can find plenty of money for prisons but has problems in finding money for libraries? All of this is to say nothing of the staggering lost of human potential of the American prison population. In fact we have about as many people in prison as we do have in the military. Oh yes and did you know that most American military manuals are written at the 9th grade reading level? Did you also know that there are millions of Americans today who cannot read this diary because they are functionally illiterate? Now we start to understand what it is that America is losing, when it is losing the last truly socialized institution in America.
Fee for service
This diary encourages you to support your local library by writing a letter to the editor today and telling them why it is that you support libraries, that you support literacy and that you support intellectual freedom for both authors and readers. Also please consider joining your friends of the libraries group. We need everyone's help to defend the last fully socialized institution in America which is your local library.
Thank you for your support of American libraries.
(Finally it should be noted that the famous philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who in
(Cross posted by author from the Daily Kos.)