Letter: Please Don't Gut Our Libraries With Budget Cuts
Lifelong library supporter fears what may happen in the event of city budget cuts.
Dear City Council members,
The proposed 2012 fiscal year budget includes a 32% reduction in the budget for the East Providence Public Libraries. When I spoke to one of the librarians, she commented that a drastic reduction such as this could result in the following:
- Loss of accreditation and therefore loss of membership in the Ocean State Library consortium;
- Forced closings of all of the branch libraries: Fuller, Rumford and Riverside;
- Reduction in library employees by more than half (14 people could lose their jobs);
- Drastic reduction/elimination of purchasing of new books
As a lifelong East Providence resident, I implore you to reconsider this budget reduction. Since I was a small child, I have been using the libraries in East Providence (and yes, I have used each branch over the years). Some of my fondest childhood memories were from trips to Fuller library while visiting my grandparents.
When my children were born, we made frequent trips to the library to take out books, attend storytimes and special events. My children have used the library as a place to meet a tutor, to do research, have their school artwork exhibited, participated in oratory contests, held student council meetings, participated in summer reading programs, attended babysitting certification courses, and more.
I have attended adult programs such as yoga classes, blood drives, and music programs and other community and educational programs.
In addition to all of the previously mentioned activities, we can always find the most current books and movies for both schoolwork and entertainment. My children and I are avid readers, and we almost always have at least one book each (usually two or three) checked out.
In our frequent trips to the libraries, I have always encountered many other patrons. Clearly, the people of East Providence are making full use of the many services provided by the library.
I do not presume to know the full impact of the budget reduction. However, I can list some of the ways the above outlined points may impact East Providence residents:
- Loss of accreditation and membership in Ocean State Library consortium
- Will no longer be able to request books (or ebooks for download) from another town/city (i.e. we will be limited to what is available only at Weaver);
- East Providence public school libraries will also be limited to using/requesting books from within the East Providence system.
- Closing of branches
- Difficulty for some finding transportation to Weaver;
- Parking, already difficult and limited at Weaver, will be even more so with everyone using one library;
- Riverside library is fairly new and, I believe, not yet paid for; closing of the branch may result in loss of the state portion of funding and result in the city being responsible for twice the amount of the current payment.
- Loss of Jobs
- Putting 14 people (many of whom are residents of East Providence) out of work in this economy seems unconscionable.
- Reduction/Elimination of book purchases
- Further reduction in access for the adults and children of this city to the latest information available.
I respectfully request that you refrain from passing the proposed budget that contains such drastic cuts to the library budget.
Thank you for your attention to this letter.
Melissa A. Phillips
33 Holland Ave., East Providence, RI