Minneapolis: The Public Library Quandry

Editorial at the Star Tribune by Bruce Benidt called Closing the Doors to Opportunity talks about our libraries as “one of the taproots of democracy and civilized society” and the important role they play in our culture. It’s a good read.

He says

This is where the simplistic “no new taxes” brand of political opportunism has taken us. When those cynical politicians who don’t have the guts or vision to appeal to anything but our greed say “no new taxes,” they won’t admit what the consequences are.

and I have to quibble here, just a little bit, because Bruce, we elected these people. They didn’t sneak into office when we weren’t looking.

Then there’s this, from the Minneapolis Issues list. I’ll keep it anonymous except to say it’s a Minneapolis citizen.

For folks who have not been to any of these meetings, I have to say they have been pretty heart-breaking.  There are two folks that probably will stick with me the most.  One is the Somali woman who spoke in broken English about how important libraries are to immigrants. She talked about how English is the key to moving ahead in America and the libraries hold the key to learning English.  The other woman is the mother of a three year old who tries to go to the library every week.  Her daughter loves the library and loves the librarians.  Her daughter put her doll in the stroller and announced to her mother that they were going to the library.  She pushes the stroller into the kitchen and loudly announces, “Sorry, it’s closed!”  That one was pretty tough to hear.

The City Council will be having a hearing on the library budget on Wednesday – Oct. 25, 2006 at 11:00 AM in the Council Chamber, Room 317 City Hall.  If you want to have your voice heard, the time is now.  The best thing to do is simply to write a letter.  Three real letters from three real people telling their story constitutes a crisis in an elected official’s office.  It may seem a small act on your end but it has real power.

She’s right. Please write the letters. Email is a second choice. I would send one to the mayor also.

And fill out the survey, linked from here.

Is a demonstration in order? Could we get a few hundred (thousand?) people to go to the 10/25 meeting? We could all drop in the Mayor’s office on the way. I would show up.

This is a crisis.

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