Dallas Morning News Editorial: “The Time Has Come to Better Fund Our Dallas Libraries”
The editorial excerpted below was published on Friday, July 25, 2014 in the Dallas Morning News and on DallasMorningNews.com.
Here’s an Excerpt:
The city of Dallas should be able to provide the funding now to a library system that is simply inadequate to the needs of its residents. Yet, as things stand, city management is not planning to substantially increase library spending.
That’s a mistake. Few of Dallas’ peer cities around the country spend as little per resident as Dallas does, according to the Friends of the Dallas Public Library.
At $22.4 million, the current library budget is slightly smaller dollar-for-dollar than it was in 2000-01. Adjusted for inflation, the budget is actually about $10 million less than it was 14 years ago.
So what, you might say. Dallas has bigger problems than that, right? There are crime and potholes to worry about, after all.
That argument ignores not only the relatively small cost of improving the Dallas library system, but also the important and unique role that libraries play in cities.
Modern libraries aren’t places where you just check out books. They are job centers where people fill out résumés and applications. They are entertainment centers where people get their movies and music. They are learning centers where children gather after school and during the summer. And they are especially crucial in the poorest parts of our city, where people often have limited access to computers and the Internet, and where children lack after-school options.
Sadly, in Dallas, many opportunities that libraries afford residents are missed because the libraries aren’t open enough. Most branches get 40 hours of operating time a week. On Sundays and Mondays, they are typically closed. Early morning hours and late evening hours, when people often are able to use the library, aren’t available at most branches.
The price of letting such services languish on recessionary budgets is higher than we think. The missing librarians and short hours cost our students, parents and teachers. They cost our job seekers and our seniors.
The time is now to restore what we have lost.
Read the Complete Editorial (829 Words)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.