Carole posted about her Peace Cowl and how knitting it may have helped her stay peaceful when someone called libraries a luxury at a town meeting. (She's picking her battles and saving her rousing speech for when it's time to actually request money.) I was aghast, outraged, and dumbfounded (and probably naive) that anyone could consider libraries a luxury and have been thinking about it since then.
It's probably preaching to the choir as I've yet to meet a knitter who isn't also a reader, but it's not the choir we have to convince. I worked as a library assistant in both elementary and middle school libraries, and lost my job when Chris Christie and our own school district didn't value libraries enough. I was called "low-hanging fruit" and my position was considered "low value-added" at multiple board meetings, but the worst part was that these adults charged with educating students in the best way possible did not have an inkling of what we did in the library or how important it is. We invited all of the school board members to spend a day with us and see that we taught research methods, how to evaluate sources, critical reading of those sources, what constitutes plagiarism, and how to become literate seekers of information, educated users of all types of information technology, and enthusiastic readers. Not a single board member took us up on it, and after this year's election I know many adults desperately need these lessons.
I live in New Jersey, the state with the highest property taxes, the eighth highest state and local taxes, the fifth highest income tax, and the third highest overall tax burden. Want to know where I got those numbers? From the reference librarian at our county library. I want my taxes to support education and libraries because they are important providers of information, education, and recreation to all.
Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries. ~ Anne Herbert
What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it feels about education. ~ Harold Howe
The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance. ~ Libba Bray
A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
The above are quotes that I've used when I needed to defend libraries. Anne Herbert, Harold Howe, Libba Bray, and Henry Ward Beecher are not well-known names, but want to know where you can find out more? At the library, and a librarian will be happy to help you. Advocate for your libraries and librarians, make your opinions known to the library board and the government that is funding these important resources, and check out the American Library Association for ways to save libraries in your state.
Because libraries are an absolute necessity.