Libraries Losing Vital Funding


Unfortunately, I keep reading about more and more libraries being forced to shut down due to lack of funding. Budget cuts. 


There is talk of having librarians work as volunteers. (Hello, many went to college and spent good money to work there, and are having to pay off college loans.) Which is tantamount, to me, of asking school teachers to work for free. 

Libraries are more than structures with books. They are an integral part of our communities. Where children go for story hour; where my own children went years ago. 

It is where I learned about a world outside my tiny little home town. And discovered my lifelong love of reading. 

Schools to are being forced to shut down early. Have school open fewer hours. 

Of all the crazy things to take funding from, I think libraries and schools have to be at the top of the list. 

So we lovers of books may have to become more creative.


Have you heard about Little Free Library?  Would something of this nature interest you as a lover of libraries and books?
Reinventing the library: The movement began in 2009 by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, as a tribute to his mother, who was a book-loving teacher. He built a model of a one-room schoolhouse, put it on a post in his front yard, filled it with books and placed a “Free Books” sign on it.
Like all good ideas, it spread quickly, fueled by social media and word-of-mouth.
Inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s support of public libraries in the 19th and 20th centuries, Bol met his goal of 2,510 Little Free Libraries two years ago.
As of January, more than 15,000 are registered throughout the world.



50 comments

  1. I have read about this free library idea or a similar one in the past...it's a great thing!

    Our small local library had funding cut by the local school district last year and they've been struggling since then. The district also downsized on some other programs, such as music, art, and so on. No school ever downsizes on their football though, do they? :)

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    1. That's right. Football is everything.

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    2. Now Now Ladies let's not dig on football! I am an AVID book reader and so so hate to hear of the cuts for libraries. I fully believe there are answers to find the funding. We just have to all speak up and go find that way. At least try. Books change lives everyday.

      Having said that - I could NEVER be without my football. I wouldn't want to see Football programs cut either as they provide a lot of open doors for young people who need those doors to be opened.

      And we have one of the little house "Free" libraries in our neighborhood. It's a wonderful thing! And almost always filled with books.

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  2. I love the Little Free Library idea. We have one outside the local middle school.

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    1. I've never seen one. But I think it's a great idea.

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  3. My kids and I get excited every time we see a Little Free Library--what a great idea! We were in Lincoln headed to my daughter's wedding and we had to circle a block so we could check out the Free Little Library. Yes, we're weird like that... ;-)

    In addition to being a school teacher, I also have a library degree. I am asked every summer to volunteer at the public library because they have had to cut spending to the bare bone. Ironically, they are expected to offer more services (children's programming for latchkey kids, technology, etc.) but with less staff. It just doesn't make sense.

    Another thing that doesn't make sense is that school districts keep adding administrative positions at six figures a pop, but they are slashing paraprofessional positions and hours because they can't/won't pay for their insurance. Seriously?!? Which one of these positions do you think honestly affects kids' learning? Common sense just isn't that common anymore, is it?

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    1. I considered going for a library degree. Instead opted for journalism. We've GOT to have libraries. Can't they cut budgets somewhere else?

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    2. You would have been in trouble with journalism,too. They're all freelance now!

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  4. my daughter has a part time job at the local library - their budget was cut also and they can no longer buy any new books for the library I think she said the budget to buy new books was cut to $200 for a whole year - you certainly can not buy many books for that price. They are trying to raise money through donations and holding fund raisers. I gave them two small hand made quilts that I made that they will raffle but they need a lot more to get the money they need.

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    1. $200? Seriously. That might buy maybe 8 books? Ridiculous. Get rid of all the electronics and go back to funding books!
      Brenda

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    2. My local library has a volunteer group associated with it called "Friends of The Library." Each year they hold an old book sale and raise some $90,000+ that is used for the library, mostly buying new books, supporting puppet shows @ main library, buying library furniture, help establish branch libraries. Rare old books, first editions, signed copies that are donated are sold on eBay and that has been an excellent source of money. Takes a lot of work but it is a 3 day event that is very successful. Each sale has about 100,000 books that can be purchased. This was started in 1966 and has garnered hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars for our local library. All run by volunteers.

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  5. Like usual the children and elderly suffer. Children as in schools that can't teach them what they need to grow and libraries that help them expand their creativity. ( shorter hours, special reading groups, etc). Elderly because so many of them can't afford to go buy new books. Now there are so many books not available to them because libraries can't afford to buy them either.

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    1. Sad, sad, sad. I always give books to organizations for people to read. Guess I'll save them for libraries. However they're galleys, which means there are still mistakes and it isn't the final proof. But I guess it doesn't much matter.

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  6. Fortunately our libraries here seem to be well funded and are busier than ever. My daughter has a little free library out in front of her house. She was inspired to create one by others that she had seen and used. xo Laura

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  7. Pretend you're the mayor/on the city council ( or whoever is in charge of the budget) of Any City, USA.

    Here is what is generally covered under the average municipal budget:

    Fire, police, sanitation, aid to the poor which includes health and food programs for kids, the homeless and the elderly, schools, parks and libraries, street repair, jails if the city is large enough and in some cases public transportation, which is heavily subsidized.

    All this is paid for out of tax money, barring any endowments or donations. Keep in mind as more people go on assistance, and as more people retire, there is less money going in, yet more and more every year is being taken out.

    Tell me where you'd cut the budget.

    I have been in this position, and it is an awful, awful job.

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    1. I can only imagine. Thanks for the perspective...

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  8. What a coincidence. I looked up this Little Free Library book just two weeks ago. I was in an historic neighborhood, and one of the homes had the cutest little box with books in front, cover with clear plastic that day because it was raining. I went home looked it up, and found out there were 3 within a mile or so of us. I want to do it, but I'm not sure my street is ready for it. There are a lot more fixed up homes now than a few years ago, but I do have a problem with someone stealing my solar lighting, and I'm not sure what they would do with books. xoxo Su

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    1. Maybe if I someday live in a house or mobile home I'll do it.

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  9. I have one of these little libraries in my neighborhood. I see this on my daily walks. What a wonderful idea. But this will not replace my library. reading and visiting the library was what helped me through all of the difficulties life throws at you. When we moved to this town, The first thing I did was to make sure my son and I had a library card. Libraries are important. Don't cut their budgets.

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    1. Libraries are so much part of every community.

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  10. My 95 year old mother and I always loved libraries....I am saddened by the closure or downsizing of many of them. However (and not to defend that decision), she is now in a wheelchair full time and in a nursing home and I am physically unable to get her out to the library. Her Kindle has been a lifesaver for her to read during the day as she has lost most of her hearing and cannot hear very well. She works crossword puzzles and reads constantly. I am grateful she has this option for her "books".

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    1. Your local library may have outreach to nursing homes and assisted living centers.also most libraries have kindle books you can check out through their website.

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  11. Brenda, this is so interesting. I didn't know they could register them. I have seen a few here and there with children's books in them. Who doesn't love books more than little kids, oh yes, big kids, too!

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    1. Nice to read they're going up all over, isn't it?

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  12. We can't wait for the county or city to do it for us. We've got to do it for ourselves. Just look at those football teams, they've got varsity clubs, pep clubs and all sorts of other entities that seek donations from corporations and big business, successful alumni and such. How about a pep club for our libraries where those with good fundraising skills or people skills go out and seek donations from chain supermarkets, department stores' anything! If we could get people to pledge the cost of a trip to Starbucks that would be a start. I think we're on our own if we want a growing, vital library service.

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    1. You're probably right about that.

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    2. Kari - see my reply above about the local Friends of The Library in my hometown.

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    3. You are so right! The parents and supporters of those Football teams at a high school and college level are constantly raising money for their schools. There is a large following for football - rightly so in my opinion :) - and "we" fans do whatever it takes to support our boys and our sport.

      The same can be done for libraries and should be done. What a wonderful idea!

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  13. What a horrid thought, closing the libraries! And if schools are closing early, where are all those kids going to be?

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    1. I don't know. I guess the parents will have to figure it out.

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  14. Libraries are close to my heart - I go at least 3 times a week to get DVDs and order books on line and they notify me when it is ready to pick up. I have seen those adorable free books on flickr - one neighbor was complaining about the structure (so mean).

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  15. I have gone to libraries all my life. My Mom started us at 2 years at libraries and its a life long of mine as a avid reader. We have 9 libraries here. We had a wonderful director for over 25 years. When she retired a horrid replacement came in and fired 20 long time librarians .She kept only part time staff and closed the libraries to part time. She was attempting to make political inroads of her own agenda by showing the city council how much she saved the city. I knew many that lost their jobs and some lost their housing. Many had to leave the area. It was heartbreaking .They all had years of experience to no avail. She did this during the recent recession so no jobs were had for them .. Well our community is outspoken and we began to protest at the libraries and at the city council meetings. Soon the council forced her to reopen the libraries and re hire some of the lost people. Now we have all driven her out of town and she is gone finally. Our hours are full time again and people are retaining their jobs. Our library branches are always full. She lost her political bid and fell under scrutiny but before that she did so much damage to our community and the libraries. Our libraries are a vital part of our community, for our children and seniors, and young people. We were not standing for her bad management practices. I must admit I am at the library at least 3 times a week.
    I see a little free library every day on my walk, they are wonderful for every community. So far I have seen some very strange books but I add to it occasionally for the neighborhood

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    1. Well, that's how to get things done! I so admire what you guys did.

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  16. I was in college in a town 45 minutes from us when my daughter was growing up. Recently divorced and having little money the library was wonderful and such a need. My daughter went to school in the same town I went to college so we could be close during the day. I could pick her up if she became sick etc. We checked out DVD's often and watched them when we had down time. What a dull life we would have had without the library. She became an avid reader and so did I. Loving every minute of reading. Seems unbelievable that someone could take that away. What about other mothers now that are just like I was then? I know there are other alternatives but there is nothing like holding a book and getting into a good story line to take your sadness away.

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    1. I agree. I just love reading a real book.

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    2. Your a wonderful Mother The library visits will make an impression on her for the rest of her life. My Mom was a single Mom widow with 3 kids. We lived in poverty but when we went to the library all we knew was happiness and how lucky we felt surrounded by books . She used to take us on the bus together as a family at least once a week and always challenged us to read series and take out different and interesting books. I agree now as a adult I use the library every week and how dull life would be without our libraries!

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  17. i love and use the library all the time. I hope this trend stops and funding is found. My kids loved the library growing up and just yesterday Tiger went there for story time and to check out books for his summer reading program. I love the free libraries!

    Linda

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    1. I know. That would be so sad that the current generation of children would lose out.

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  18. I'm glad you reminded me of this! I had seen it before somewhere but forgot to make a note of it. If I ever get to own my own home again, I want to have one in my front yard too! I LOVE BOOKS! As many others, I grew up in the 50's going to the library all the time and loved the smell of the books.. and the adventures that awaited me when I opened the cover. The library even to this day, has been a haven to go to. both of my sons loved them too. To this day, I won't move to a town without a library! They are so crucial to children and adults in so many ways. I love this Little Free Library idea and I can see it growing even more as time goes by.

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    1. Yeah, I'll do the same if I ever have a house or somewhere else to live. I think it's a fabulous idea!

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    2. We have a fantastic library system. One of the best in the country. Right in our town our library is very busy and the heartbeat to our community. I was told years ago if you want to know about a town, before you buy a home, check out their library. It also indicates how much they value their schools. When you have time look up Hudson Ohio Library and Historical Society. I think you'll enjoy it. The value of reading is huge around here. It's the reason I don't want to relocate. My husband offers tutoring lesson for computers. You'd be shocked how many people in their 80s come in for his services.

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    3. I meant that the library offers tutoring lessons for free!! We have authors stop by and often musical concerts on Sunday's. It's the one place everyone in town talks about with such pride and love. To conserve money they studying where to make cuts and decided to close on Fridays at 1:00. That's the afternoon and evening that would have the least effect to users. It's crazy when some libraries pick to close on Sunday that's when kids have school projects and when working people can enjoy going. As you can see this subject is very near and dear to my heart! Sorry to run on..........

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    4. I guess that depends on your community. Our Fridays are full and hectic all day long and have had requests to stay open later! In fact, most of our traffic on the weekends involve kids on the computers playing games and parents checking out dvds for them. Like anything else, everyone wants the library's schedule to match their own. People will adapt to being closed on Sundays.

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    5. You're right it does depend on the community. This community is totally focused on education. There's also a prep school here. None of these kids have to go to the library to play video games or borrow DVDs. That's really, for the most part, more mindless entertainment than educational.

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  19. I spent many, many hours volunteering at our library back in Idaho. I also took storytelling classes just so that I could go out into the community and reach schools and day care centers. The library was always busy and their summer reading program grew larger each year. Our library here is very active too. I plan to join Friends of the Library here to help any way I can. When I lived in the middle east for those three years, we had no library. Whenever one of us would travel to London we would fill a suitcase with paper backs that we would share with each other. As a reader, I cannot imagine life without some type of library. Like Kathleen, this subject is near and dear to my heart too.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

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  20. As a librarian, I thank you for this post. In the UK we have lost hundreds of libraries in the last 5 years. Ironic when you consider that most of our public libraries opened just after WW2, when the country had far less money than it has today.
    What annoys me most is
    a) people who never use libraries shouting that they are not used by anyone, as we all have Kindles.
    Duh! Libraries are free! Best selling e-books are not. If they were any competition to libraries, charity shops would have put an end to us long ago. We also offer free e-books and are seeing a return of people who have spent too much on Kindle books.
    b) at the same time the government cuts libraries, they make rules that people have no choice about doing more and more things online, because we all have internet access, don't we?
    Wrong! A large percentage (30% I think) dont either through choice or expense, which is why our free internet computers are fully booked from the minute we open until we close.
    c) half the libraries in my county are now run by volunteers, following a severe reduction in trained staff. They may mean well, but they show a complete disregard to opening hours, technical computer issues, personal data protection and customer service. Two libraries formerly run by one council staff member are now run by a 'gaggle' of volunteers who constantly gossip and drink tea. The volunteer libraries share our library computer system, but if a book goes missing, last seen in a volunteer run library, you can forget it.

    I had to train volunteers to do my job in a small branch library. They had no idea that a large part of the job is showing people how to use the internet for emails, job search, benefits etc. I heard the phrase 'I thought you just sat and stamped books all day ' so many times it drove me mad.

    I could go on.....and on, but it's your blog so I'll just say thanks for supporting properly run libraries. They are vital for peoples' well being and often the only safe and welcome place in a community for isolated people.

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  21. PS......love the new look of your blog!

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