Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Save Ohio Libraries

I want to be sleeping right now.

Instead, I was tossing and turning in bed. My mind wouldn’t keep quiet, constantly drafting letters, blog posts, etc.

So, here I sit at a laptop talking to people on Facebook. About what? The Ohio libraries budget crisis.

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve libraries.

  • Going with my grandma…and then later, riding my bike alone…to meet the bookmobile.
  • Spending homeroom and lunch at the library.
  • Memorizing my first Dewey Decimal classification number (133s. Ghost stories. I think I was in 3rd grade).
  • Volunteering in the Local History room at my town’s public library.
  • Lying about my youngest sister’s age so she could ride the bus for free and go with me to the public library.
  • Checking out a book at lunchtime and finishing it by the end of 8th period.

Libraries – whether the bookmobile, the public library or a school library – were always an essential part of my childhood.

Later, after getting my undergrad degree, I fell in to a library job. I never considered working at the library, which is ridiculous considering my love of all things book. But once I started working there I realized that this is where I was meant to be. The public library. Helping others find the joy in that institution that I have always felt.

The library has always been a safe haven for me. It has been a kind of paradise, for where else could I even attempt to quench my insatiable thirst for reading?

And now I am faced with not only losing my livelihood, but also the source that feeds one of my greatest passions – books.

Let’s say I read 8 books a month. This doesn’t even really take into account the picture books that cross my desk! Eight books a month for a year…that’s 96 books a year. Let’s guess each book costs $20. Even paperbacks now cost a pretty penny!! But, we are talking newly released books. The paperbacks won’t be available for ages. So…$20 times 96:


Yes…I would have to spend nearly $2000 to get a year’s worth of reading. And that is a conservative number! One that doesn’t take into account the DVDs, CDs, magazines, and CD Roms that I check out throughout the year.

I’m just one person. Just one of millions of library users who may be left out in the cold come July 1.

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