Have you ever thought about how your local library gets funded? A recent National Public Radio piece addressed this topic, pointing out that not all library funding is created equal. While Vermont has more libraries per capita than any U.S. state, financial support is hard to come by. Public libraries in Kansas, on the other hand, are funded by a combination of locally generated taxes and state money (with a budget of about $3.6 million). And in Texas, the state’s library budget was cut by 64 percent, affecting important services such as the summer reading program.
Read or listen to the full story and then ponder the following questions:
- Who has a responsibility to support public libraries? The government? Citizens?
- What do you like about your local library? If it had to close, what would you miss?
- Would you be willing to donate money to your local library if asked? How might you raise the money?
- Canadian poet and novelist Anne Herbert once said, “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” What do you think she meant by this? Do you agree?
- The story also notes that libraries are valuable because they are one of the few places that people can get free access to computers and the Internet. Why do you think this is important? How would your life be different if you didn’t have a computer or access to the internet?