Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Borrowed Books, Borrowed Time

As cities face uncertain economies, more are looking to limit library branches, hours, and budgets.

A USAToday story cites library closures in Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Muncie, Indiana — America's tester town! — and says that at the same time "more adults are using free internet services to search for jobs or apply for unemployment benefits, and more peole are economizing by borrowing books, DVDs, and CDs."

"Cities are making tough choices, says Chris Hoene, director of policy and research at the National League of Cities. As people lose income or curb spending, income tax and sales tax revenue falls. Local officials must choose between core services, such as police and fire protection, and services such as libraries and parks.

'Obviously, when push comes to shove,' he says, city governments facing budget cuts 'will protect city services considered more vital to the safety of the community.'"

So far, the Memphis Public Library isn't facing cuts, but both the number of customers and library-card applicants are up since last year.

No comments: