August 21, 2009
Budget shortfalls have been so abundant that we hardly take notice of what it will mean in real consequences and the City of Aurora is no exception. Libraries are particularly vulnerable in a recession or when there is a budget shortfall.
Why do we care about our libraries? Here are a few of the services they provide to us:
- help children in school
- job searching
- health & medical information
- community events
- access to national / international databases
- free source to learn about anything we want
- safe. quiet place to study
- resources for benefits
Perhaps hardest to quantify is the inspiration from the love of learning, feeding hungry minds and allowing imagination to bloom. All things and all worlds are possible in the library. Libraries have been an essential component to the vision of our democratic republic since our founding fathers. It is a place where citizens become informed to make good decisions and participate in civic society.
But here's what is at stake if the measure to save Aurora's Libraries fail. We will be looking at closure of 4 libraries and cutting approximately 40 jobs of people who are trained to serve and help the public with their educational, business and personal needs. These cuts are even more devastating in light of the fact that demand and use is up dramatically by our citizens. The need is higher now than ever.
We need to invest in good materials at the library. Currently Aurora is at the bottom of spending per capita on collection materials at $2.60 per capita and after the projected budget cuts in 2010 that figure wil go down to $0.96 per capita. That compares with Arapahoe at $11.75 and Douglas at $10.90 per capita.
Libraries should be open. Currently Aurora is also near the bottom of hours the libraries are open per capita (.042) which has left the Chambers Library open only 16 hours per week and the main library closed on Fridays.
For more information about what you can do to save Aurora's libraries, visit, http://www.saveauroralibraries.com or call 303.350.8869.