A friend of mine who lives in the town of North Smithfield, Rhode Island, alerted me to this:
The North Smithfield Public Library is slated to close its doors on July 1, 2010 if the town budget is passed as proposed.
If the library closes, residents of the town who wish to use a library will have to travel to a neighboring town and pay a fee of $112 per year.
North Smithfield has about 11,500 residents in about 4,000 households. The total budget for 2009-2010 was $34 million. It allocated $342,100 to running the library, of which $61,000 came from the state. Even if the state cut its share to zero, that's still only $85.53 per household for the year to keep open a resource which gives kids a place to go after school and during the summer, allows seniors access to reading material they couldn't otherwise afford, and allows the unemployed to use the internet and print resources to find work.
This town would give up on having a public library in order to cut less than 1% of their budget. It's stupid and shortsighted, and it's probably happening all over the country.
Good news 6/30/10:
At the June 28, 2010 Special Meeting of the North Smithfield Town Council #savenspl, the five-member Council unanimously approved level funding for the North Smithfield Public Library for Fiscal year 2011 -- thus protecting the library's State Grant-in Aid and allowing NSPL to continue operations for the next fiscal year.
Prior to the meeting, the lawn of Kendall-Dean school, Slatersville, RI, was peppered colorfully with nearly fifty library supporters holding placards with messages including, "Save Our Library Please," "We Need Our Library," and, "Save Our Library...Save Our Education...Save Our Future!" Sign holders included library patrons of all ages -- children, teens, adults and seniors -- many of whom joined others inside to endure the meeting through the 10 pm vote.
Prior to the vote, each of the five councilors spoke of the recent passionate outpouring of support for the library, via supporters' emails, letters, and phone calls.