There are huge cuts proposed for the Boston Public Libraries at a time when the visits and usage of libraries has increased.
You can take action!
Go to http://www.bpl.org/general/budget/
Look at the budgets and the proposals to deal with the budget shortfalls, including closing several branches. The website allows you to leave your feedback and suggestions. When I did, I was given a message inviting me to a meeting on the BPL budget. The meeting is open to the public and will be held on:
Tuesday, March 9 at 3p.m. at the Central Library in Copley Square.
I was prompted to take action by a friendly librarian from the Adams Branch Library. She wrote:
“As you may have read in the Boston Globe recently, the Boston Public Library is facing a serious budget shortfall next year. The budget axe is hitting home, and may affect many of the people I have worked with for many years, let alone what cuts of this magnitude may do to the oldest public library in the United States. In this town, in this state, no matter what set backs we have faced in recent months, we can’t afford to allow that to happen.
Providing a library in a neighborhood is often the first exposure to learning and a love of reading that hopefully lasts a lifetime. I still marvel when a child comes up to the counter, barely able to see over it, and is thrilled to get their own library card. It’s enough to shake the cynicism that can coat a day at work, and renew your joy in what you do. I also see people who can’t afford to buy a computer or are beginning to learn English get their lives on track at branch libraries. These institutions serve a vital function in the community.”
The Globe article she refers to, Boston Library branches could close amid cuts, was written by Andrew Ryan on February 17. He writes:
“Last year about 300,000 Bostonians used library cards, including 40,000 residents who signed up for new cards, a 20 percent surge from the pervious year. Circulation has spiked 31 percent over the last three years, following a well-established trend that library use increases as the economy heads south.
The library has also seen an increase in electronic traffic and digital circulation. Unique visitors to the Boston Public Library’s website, for example, hit 5.2 million in the last fiscal year, up 33 percent since 2006. Over that same four years, downloads of audio books and other digital products has more than quadrupled.”
I see this vitality every time I visit my local branch and the main branch (as well as others). Residents of all ages use the computer, read magazines and books, check out books and DVDs. All of the libraries have lectures, book sales, story hours, book discussions, workshops, music, films, etc. Recently, I attended a bake sale at the library.
Please take action on behalf of BPL now. Thank you.
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Can you suggest any other concrete things that we can do?
I think writing letters to Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick might be good steps. Other than that, I don’t know what else to do. I plan to show up at the open meeting mentioned in my post.
Thanks for commenting.
Well, the problem is the city spends too much on employee and retiree health care, because they provide much higher benefit levels than are found in the private sector.. See http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/02/28/runaway_health_costs_are_rocking_municipal_budgets/ .
Something’s gotta give. It’s not popular to propose cutting benefits for government employees, but it seems like that’s the only fair way to solve this crisis.
I read the report about my beloved Public Library and am so outraged that when money is needed the things most cherished by the city’s citizens gets decimated. I don’t have any ideas to stop the cuts except that they need to make the cuts elsewhere-maybe in the ‘pork’ that still exists in state government.