Wish You Were Here!
Let me describe to you a phenomenon and then place money on the fact that you’ve experienced it. You’ve booked your plane tickets, found your passport, taken a taxi to the airport, gone through security, made a weird airport food decision, curb-checked your belongings, and survived the worst turbulence of your life. Are you having fun yet? I’m talking about going on vacation only to find yourself wishing that you were already home.
Don’t suffer a crappy vacation any longer. Join me in a staycation to the public library, the real way to sit back and relax, learn new things, and come away with stories to tell your friends. Don’t drop the money on an airplane ticket. It’s the freest vacation you will ever take, with something for everyone, great people-watching, and best of all, wireless internet.
Not everyone can afford a plane ticket to Cozumel, but the public library remains free to everyone, thanks to a wide variety of support, including local funding. But with financial cuts to libraries nationwide, it’s getting harder and harder for public libraries to continue to provide information resources to everyone for free (including that wireless internet). Library budgets are shrinking. Branches are shuttering their doors. Librarians are being laid off.
Are we having fun yet?
The only thing I remember from my high school economics class is this: “Vote with your dollars.” Well, that, and that Mr. Hibbs looked like Mr. Clean, or a farm egg. Let’s vote with our dollars and grow our libraries again. Can you think of a library that has supported you? Why don’t you support that library this year? What can you afford to give back? The cost of a book of stamps? If everyone I knew donated $9.20 to their public library today, well… it would be a great day for public libraries.
Thanks to a successful campaign, my new public library in Madison has a chocolate shop, a stop-motion animation lab, an art gallery, a teen-only section, heat in the winter, and yes, wireless internet. But libraries spring up everywhere, almost in the face of opposing forces: take, for example, the ad-hoc Occupy Wall Street Library that provided reference and archival services for those protesting against greed and inequality.
When you spend money on a vacation, you’re voting for massive airline conglomerates, questionable gas and oil interests, and who knows what else. When you visit and donate to your public library, you’re supporting your local advocates for privacy and information. No one cares about your privacy more than librarians; no one cares about your access to information more than librarians. Librarians also care about your access to wireless internet, which everyone knows is a prerequisite for a good vacation.
That money I placed in the first sentence on the fact that you’ve taken a vacation you regretted? I’m giving that money to my library this year.
Yours from the stacks,