Today is a big day for The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. City voters are being asked to support their library. From the group Our Library, Our Future:
Supporters of the Our Library, Our Future initiative are asking Pittsburgh residents to vote YES on a referendum on the ballot in November for a 0.25 mill special tax on all taxable real estate in the City of Pittsburgh to be allocated and used only for the maintenance and operation of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. (This is the equivalent of $25 per year or $2.09 per month on $100,000 of assessed value.) If passed, this referendum will help provide Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh with the diverse and sustainable funding it needs to continue to provide the critical services the community wants and needs.
It's unthinkable to me that anyone would not support this referendum. $2.09 per month? I have that much change floating around in the bottom of my purse at the end of each month. I would even pay much more than that to have a viable library in my community. In fact, I do. I'm not one of the lucky people who lives in a community that gives everyone library cards, so I have to pay for my card. Well...cards. I pay $30 per year to use the Carnegie Library system, and $35 per year to use my small community library. And it's worth every penny.
Without our community libraries, I fear that we'll become Amazon.com world. Don't get me wrong, Amazon.com has its use. We bought our last TV from Amazon. But Amazon isn't really interested in helping you or expanding your reading horizons. Amazon just wants to sell you stuff. Barnes and Noble is only slightly better, although not quite as blatant about it.
When is the last time Amazon.com read a story to your child? When did Barnes and Noble let you use its computers to access the internet? When did Amazon.com help you write a resume, or provide a job search workshop? When did Barnes and Noble let you use a meeting room, research your genealogy in their store or teach you how to use Excel? For free.
When was the last time Amazon.com said, "Here, take these 6 books. Any six books at all. Take them to your house, give them a read and then just bring them back. No extra charge. Oh, and if we don't have what you want, no worries. We'll get it for you. For-freakin'-free."
Really. So please support your libraries.