American Library Association Prez Calls on Dallas to Stop Cutting From Library Budget

The American Library Association, in town since Friday, begins its wind-down at the Dallas Convention Center this afternoon, when Lisa Loeb does her thing. But this morning, a Friend of Unfair Park notes: The state of the Dallas Public Library system is very much on the mind of ALA President Molly Raphael.

Right now, of course, we're without a permanent library director ... or, for that matter, even an interim, what with Corinne Hill choo-choo'ing to Chattanooga. And as we discussed repeatedly back in September, the DPL budget gets smaller and smaller every year, even as the city preps new branches scheduled to be designed and constructed out of still-sitting-there 2006 bond funds, which we'll get to later this afternoon. Writes Raphael, the city's managed to do more than most with less than most, but a "precarious" position could get worse before it gets better, if it ever does. In the wake of most of the city's libraries being closed on Mondays, among other head-scratchers, she writes:

Such a reduction in hours means thousands of lost opportunities to connect patrons with needed resources and services. Not only is access to materials limited, but the size of the library's collection is dwindling as the library struggles to find funding to replace worn materials. New titles are becoming dearer, and patrons must add their name to long waiting lists to borrow new books or other items.

Now, once again local leaders are considering the upcoming budget. The library has shown it is committed to streamlining operations and meeting financial challenges with innovation and collaboration, but a library's resources and creativity can be stretched only so far.

Dallas Public Library needs our support. As local leaders work to develop a budget, we ask that they see libraries as part of the solution and restore funding. We must not turn a blind eye as Dallas leaders shelve the value of library service. Our communities must stand up for their libraries.

Read the whole thing here.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky