Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Library Heaven

When I got my e-mail saying Amazon was shipping 3 more books, I realized that I have been on a book buying frenzy all summer. My book budget is so shot! Thanks goodness our library will re-open in November.

Yes, you heard me, our library has been closed for months. It's been humiliating, as well as personally expensive, not to have a library open in our very liberal and well read town of Ashland, Oregon (home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Loss of federal revenue plus a twice defeated levy left us high and dry. Finally the Jackson Country Commissioners came up with a scheme to open all county libraries for 15 hours a week. How did they do it? Hire a private company on the opposite coast, non-union, to operate them. Some of us are not taking this peacefully.

I've heard people say, "Big deal. Libraries are passe. People just use the internet now." In our town people who don't own a computer use the computers in the library! Rather, they did.

The City of Ashland, with the backing of a wonderful band of library loving volunteers, had already stepped in to be sure Ashland's library re-opened. We were able to pass a levy that required a 50% voter turnout. This makes it possible for the Ashland branch of the Jackson County Library System to be open 40 hours a week. Hallelujah!


Rick Hamrick said...

I remember hearing about the library closing from another source, and I was simply stunned! Ashland, of all places. It seems to me that a huge number of the world's very cool spiritually oriented teachers, speakers, and writers are living in Ashland, not to mention the art community which is amazing, I hear.

In Denver, we somehow have avoided the closings, although there is the occasional attempt to close a branch library, always successfully fought by the neighborhood which is served. We do have to tolerate one less day of service. My own branch is closed on Thursdays. Others close on other days. Only the main library downtown remains open seven days a week now.

Right now, I have 11 books checked out. It would be a brutal experience to have to be without, that's for sure!

Love your photo of the girl sitting on top of the mailbox!

sharryb said...

Hi Rick,
Ashland tried hard to keep the libraries open. There were two levy elections before the one that was Ashland only. In both Ashland voted "yes" but were shouted down by county "no" votes.

I'm so glad you liked the mail pic. My dad took it when I was about eight and won an award for it. I'll be sure he sees your comment.


Rick Hamrick said...

Got it! I missed the fact that it was a county decision which Ashland has since overridden for their own city. Good for you and your fellow citizens!

Denver is both city and county, so I'm not used to such conflicts between jurisdictions.

It is so cool that the photo is you! I didn't realize that. Your dad did a great job with that shot, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

I was pleased that someone was interested in the mailbox photo. I submitted it in a competition sponsored by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for pictures with a rural setting.It proved to be a winner. We still have the copy of the newspaper in which it was published and I believe we have a print of the pucture itself.
-Gordon Teague, 09-27-07

Carli N. Wendell said...

Congratulations on getting your library back! Public libraries are such an integral part of our communities, and it's a shame to think so many of them are closing up shop or not updating their offerings to keep up with the times. You've reminded me that I need to visit the library more often rather than buying a book every time I need a good read.

here from Michele

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