I am not okay with this. Judging from Facebook, a lot of people are not okay with this.
Earlier this year the Johnson County Board of Commissioners decided to pull a fair chunk of funding from the library system resulting in convoluded hours at several locations: closed Friday and Sunday, only open from 10-2 on on Saturdays, closing at 5 pm on Wednesdays. Quite frankly, it’s inconvenient.
Now, however, the Board of Commissioners wants to close three locations including our neighborhood library, Cedar Roe. Closing the libraries is a monumentally ignorant and bad, bad, bad idea.
I live in that wonky area of Johnson County where the dividing line between the Haves and the Have Nots is abundantly clear. And, guess what? There are a lot of people in Johnson County that have very, very little. There are kids at my children’s school who go home with baggies of food on Fridays so they can eat on the weekends. Not all of Johnson County is rich. Not all of Johnson County can afford the LUXURY of books and internet access. And, yeah, if it comes down to paying the electric bill or paying for internet, you’re going to pick electric.
I love our little library. It’s convenient. It’s quiet. There’s a nice area for the children to play. There are lots of computers. And, JoCo libraries are fantastic about interlibrary transfers. If I want to read a book that’s sitting on the shelf in Blue Valley, I reserve it and pick it up at Cedar Roe. Going to the library is a treat for my kids that they always look forward to. Cedar Roe is an asset to our community. It’s NECESSARY to our community and here’s why: the economy sucks (I’m sure this shocks you to your core, you’re welcome for the news). I see people using the computers at Cedar Roe all. the. time. Adults use it to go to school on line. Kids use them for classwork (my third grader often comes home with homework he has to do online). People use them to job hunt. Children who’s parents may not be able to afford a home library can bring their kids to Cedar Roe- there is a wonderful children’s section, intermediate reader section- even a tween section. It’s a fabulous library.
A lot of people walk to Cedar Roe and it’s not because Roeland Park is so delightfully walkable (it’s not). It’s because they don’t have a choice. I see the same people who walk to Cedar Roe walking to the grocery store, the drug store, and WalMart. It’s not a green initiative. They either can’t afford a car, or they can’t afford the gas for their car. These are not people of means. These are people who rely on our library. These are people who are trying to better their lives, trying to better themselves, trying to save as much money as they can, and Johnson County wants to take a source for so much, to so many people, away.
Apparently, libraries aren’t necessary. Or something. I wonder what the combined salaries of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners is? It’s easy for me to guess. And my guess is that they’re paid quite handsomely. I’m pretty sure Johnson County employees haven’t had any raises this year but I wonder if any people at the top of the totem pole have taken any pay cuts? My guess is no.
Making any more cuts to the library is a big damn mistake. Surely, there’s other fat that can be trimmed. Libraries are a resource our community cannot afford to sacrifice and I strongly encourage my friends and neighbors to take a stand against the Board of Commissioners.
Here is information about the JoCo Board of Commissioners:http://bocc.jocogov.org/commissioner. Tell them what you think. Tell them to LEAVE OUR LIBRARIES OPEN. If we don’t speak up, they’re going to do what they want. They obviously don’t get it (snarky side note: they seriously can’t find anyone other than middle aged white dudes to comprise the Board of Commissioners? Really???). I’m pissed. You should be, too. Give them an earful. And! Hey! Look! Here’s a convenient linky link that will allow you to message ALL of them directly in one fell swoop.