On Friday I got an email from Arlene at the BCCLS library regarding “the attacks being waged by Governor Christie’s proposed budget.” Christie proposes to cut money from New Jersey libraries and public schools. These are the same kind of cuts that decimated school and library budgets under Reagan’s administration in the 80’s. And if you don’t know how that went for schools and libraries, I’ll tell you: it went VERY BADLY.
What Christie plans to cut is delivery of books in libraries. Delivering books allows library patrons to get materials from all over their library system. Every library doesn’t have the budget to carry every book/audio/video, but by sharing materials, patrons have a wide variety of items available to them. Without this, patrons either are limited to whatever their local library has to offer, or they are forced to travel to get materials, which doesn’t sound like a problem unless you are bedridden, or don’t have access to a car, or a kind soul to drive all over New Jersey to pick up these things for you.
Libraries are hardly over-funded. According to Arlene’s email, spending on BCCLS libraries accounts for 6.39% of the municipal tax bill. So what’s really going to be cut here are services to the poor.
Christie doesn’t care about public libraries and schools because they serve people who can’t afford to go out and buy their education and all the books they want to read. The people who support him have money. LOADS of it. So if you’re poor, he doesn’t give a rats bare behind whether or not you are educated, or have access to books. As a matter of fact, better for him that you’re not educated, because then you won’t even realize his callousness and he can get you to vote him into office again. But if your child needs to do a research project and your local library doesn’t have the materials, too bad for your kid. And if you’re sick and need to have a book delivered, I hope your ceiling makes interesting reading. God only knows how the schools are going to suffer. Hey, maybe your kid won’t have to do that research project anyway because all the good programs are going to be cut from the curriculum. What luck!
So please, let’s all thank Gov. Christie for letting us know that some of us don’t deserve to read. You can contact him here yourself:
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
You can also join the Save NJ Libraries group on Facebook.