I got an “SOS” of sorts from a friend on Monday morning — alerting me to talk of closing Wickenburg’s one public library due to lack of funding.
I was reminded of George W. Bush hurling the term “fuzzy math” at Al Gore during a presidential election — and the many times since that both sides have seemed a bit fuzzy in their thinking.
There’s been plenty of doom and gloom commentary coming out of news sources who seem more bent on proferring ideology than providing information — much of it focused on events in distant lands.
I don’t doubt that global events impact our country, and our communities — but today my concerns are closer to home.
Democracy, quite frankly, is ours to lose. And if we want to hasten the process, we’ll start by lowering already abyssmal literacy rates among our own citizens.
We’ll restrict access to books and online information for those who can’t afford laptops or reading materials of their own.
We’ll assure that community resources like libraries — which offer low- and no-cost arts and cultural programming — close their doors.
We’ll make sure that kids head to empty houses or convenience store parking lots after school instead of taking part in library programs that foster cognitive, emotional and social skills.
When we, as Americans, can find no better solution to fiscal challenges than closing public libraries — we might as well close the book on our own dwindling democracy.
Note: My 19-year-old daughter Jennifer (an ASU student) offered a trio of library tidbits after reading this post. First, a quote she found on www.libraryquotes.org: Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation (Walter Cronkite). Second, a resource for fellow library lovers: www.ilovelibraries.org. And third, a video contest titled “Why I Need My Library” from www.ala.org (for teens 13-16/runs through April 18). Click here to learn more about the Arizona Library Association.
Coming up: Teens taking direction, Building bridges with music