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Words about libraries

   From the Easy Readers in The Buffalo News Opinion corner, and from a friend, two sides of the page about how people learn.

- A word about libraries - Buffalo News Editorial
   In economic times such as these, when taxpayers are stretched and governments knocked off balance, no public function can be completely immune from the need to tighten every belt. Not even one as crucial to the heart and soul of any community as its public libraries.
   But the ongoing strain on the public purse and private billfolds only increases the importance of the services that modern public libraries provide. That must not be forgotten as the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, and the county government that provides the bulk of its annual funding, put together their budgets for 2011.
   County Executive Chris Collins has put out the word that he wants county-funded agencies to sketch out budget cuts of 20 percent. Combined with other anticipated funding shortfalls, such a cut would be a major blow to the library system.
   [Library system faces layoffs, closures due to budget shortfall - Buffalo News 8/19/10
   The executive's call is a reasonable starting point for the budget process, given the county's revenue picture. There comes a point, however, when what may look like frugal spending now only undermines the economic future of a community. Libraries are a prime example.
   Public libraries, a singularly American creation promoted by personages as revered as Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Carnegie, exist to spread knowledge and understanding, practical and poetic, among the populace. ...
   Without libraries, accessible and active libraries, people are tragically less likely to keep their minds growing and their civic awareness up to speed. And those are factors in everything from a community's poverty and crime rates to its ability to attract businesses and professionals [and retirees].

    And a forceful dissent, via this semester's welcome opening blast from Today's Word on Journalism:
“I thank God we have no free schools or printing, and I hope that we shall not have these for a hundred years. For learning has brought disobediences and heresy and sects into the world; and printing has divulged them and libels against the government. God keep us from both.” Sir William Berkeley, Governor, Virginia Colony, 1671

  Time for a little easy reading, with two Oscar winners:

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
[Awaiting an angry call from Morgan Freeman's agent.]


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