Too often when we think of our local library, we flash back to the days we spent as a child escaping to the story-filled stacks after school. But unfortunately, post-academia and pre-children of our own, too few of us take advantage of what our local libraries have to offer. Pittsburghers learned this the hard way recently when it was announced that four Carnegie branches face closure in 2010. Along with the closures, two branches face being merged, and all others face cutbacks in hours and programs.
Serving over 2.5 million people in 2008, the library is far from the often preconceived hushed arena refereed by a librarian with a tightly wound bun. Carnegie is a vivid place that promotes literacy and life-long learning throughout its nineteen branches in the Pittsburgh area. With over 250,000 card holders and hosting more than 8,000 programs a year, Carnegie provides diverse features for its community members, ranging from story time offered in various languages, to workshops to help recently unemployed adults find their way back into the workplace. The library also acts as sole provider for many individuals who don’t have other ways of accessing the Internet. While circulation has increased over recent years, so have costs – yet funding has remained relatively stagnant.
According to library spokesperson, Suzanne Thinnes, a temporary fix won’t do. Long-term substantial funding is needed so that the system doesn’t have to face these challenges year after year. In the face of the closure, local residents are rallying to save these branches. While all support is welcomed, Thinnes urges patrons to write to their elected officials for a permanent solution.
To learn more about the danger facing Pittsburgh libraries and ways you can help, click here. For our readers located beyond the Pittsburgh area, this is not a problem unique our area, libraries throughout the country are facing similar challenges everyday. Think about volunteering at your local library and rediscovering that long lost love of escaping into the stacks!
How do you plan to help out your local library, ModClothers?