Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Giving Thought to our Libraries

I appreciated your editorial ["Giving Thought"] about the importance of community involvement regarding the many issues that affect our lives. In case you're not aware of it since you didn't mention it in the editorial, the Amador Libraries have been devastated by budget cuts- two librarians have been laid off, hours and services cut, the ability to buy sufficient numbers of books curtailed causing long waits for new books, and having to ask The Friends of the Library for money to purchase day to day supplies.

The amount of the budget cut was 1% of the County's carryover funds for next year- NOT 1% of the budget, meaning that the County could easily afford to keep the Libraries in relative health. I say relative health because the Library has lost 8 positions in the last four years as well as having its budget reduced, so it was already running at a bare bones level. This year's cut, unnecessary as it was, has put the Libraries in survival mode.

Why the Supervisors agreed to the cut is unclear- many in the community expressed their dismay at meetings and through emails but were ignored- it may be that the Supervisors are unaware of the effects of the cut or that they simply don't care, don't value the Libraries. As you said in your editorial, services such as the Library belong to us, it's our money that the Supervisors are withholding, and the Supervisors work for us.  The community can make all of this clear to the Supervisors if it is willing and persistent.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Jim Jacobs

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