Libraries Too Vital to Cut

Portland Press Herald, Letters to the Editor. March 27, 2011 by

Margaret Boyajian
Spruce Head

Libraries are the critical cornerstone of our democracy and should not be considered for having their budgets cut. Reading is the pathway for life-long learning, and libraries with all their services play an essential role in that development from childhood on.

Today's libraries are facing many financial challenges as the state tries to address the debt and jeopardize library funding in the process.

Yet demand for library services is increasing, and libraries are trying to meet that demand by providing Internet access, printing services, inter-library loans, access to 52 academic bases via Marvel, CDs, DVDs, and audio books and e-books sent to your personal computer.

The Maine School and Library Network, a unit of the University of Maine system, provides Internet access and services to almost 1,000 schools and libraries across the state. Without the MSLN the funding for Internet access by libraries would fall upon city and town taxes.

Since 2005 the state library budget has dropped by almost 25 percent while the demand for services has increased. I urge our representatives, senators, and governor to support fully library budgets for present and future generations.

There is no better investment for the education of the public and the health and well-being of our country.