Librarians have seen it before. When the economy sours, free services become a sweet treat for families needing to cut spending. It's hard to beat free books, movies, music and internet service at the local public library.
In Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, a new library building opened last year has already recorded a 73-percent increase in library checkouts.
When I was a child I never visited a bookstore once, but Wednesday was Library Day, the one day our public library was open. My sister and I would walk a mile there and back with a stack of books every week. The librarian limited us to six each, but since we since shared we had enough. I can't imagine growing up without a library.
While public libraries are booming, parents and teachers worry school libraries may be an endangered species as school districts suffer funding shortfalls. I posted about this a few days ago and a parent e-mailed me with information on Washington States school library funding drive. They are near reaching ten-thousand signatures urging legislators to define basic education to include school libraries and librarians. Duh! Let me go on record: libraries are even more necessary than schools. Basic education? I think so.
Click here to help with the petition drive.
~~Mary Cronk Farrell