Thursday, June 25, 2009

Save Ohio Libraries - Rally in Columbus

It was hot and humid, but we were there. As the sun beat down upon us, library supporters from throughout the state gathered at the capitol building to show just how much we love our libraries.

There were speakers. Librarians. Mothers. Fathers. Library Friends. Teenagers. Children. Adults. Anyone who felt compelled could speak, and many of us did (myself included).
(photo taken by greg)

People arrived by car, by foot, by bicycle. Children rode in strollers, holding their own signs. It was a sea of red shirts, and an ocean of signs.

The crowd was smaller than some anticipated. With rallies taking place throughout the state, and considering the short amount of time from first posting about the rally to it actually happening (about 36 hours I think), it wasn’t all to surprising. There was still a crowd of a few hundred.

We thanked the legislatures and the General Assembly for supporting our cause. We waved at the person working high up in a building across the street who noted the rally on Facebook. We cheered and we hollered. We showed our love for Ohio public libraries.

I wasn’t planning to speak, but did so at the encouragement of my coworkers.

Nervous, I approached the steps. I knew what I wanted to say. By the end, my passion for public libraries took control of my words.

(photo taken by greg)

I can’t recall word for word, but here is the jist:

I work in a library, but I am here today not as a library employee, but as a library patron and lifelong library user. Some of my fondest childhood memories are centered around the library. Walking with my grandma to the bookmobile. Riding my bike to the bookmobile. Lying about my youngest sister’s age so she could ride the city bus free and we could go to the library in our hometown of Wheeling.

I lived in Michigan for a few years. Unless you live, work or go to school in the city of Detroit, you must pay $100 for a library card. I believe – but am not certain – that to do genealogy or local history research you must pay.
(Note: This is true.). But I can get a library card in Cleveland, Warren, Youngstown, Dayton, Toledo, Lima…anywhere in the state for free. That is just one of the many things that makes Ohio libraries the best in the nation.

There might have been more…but that is what I remember. Sorry, kids. No DVD sales of my political speaking debut.

I have photos – lots of them. But will not post all of them. Instead I have shared those that I feel are the best of the crop. Unless noted, these were taken by me.


Sharon said...

I'm glad to hear that so many showed up with such little notice! And way to go on saying something!

Laura Lee Wilson said...

Amanda, I'm so glad you were able to attend the rally. Thank you for all the work you did to make people aware of the proposed cuts to Ohio libraries!