The American Library Association (ALA) is asking Congress for $100 million in stimulus funding to aid the nation’s working families during the current economic crisis. Aid is sought to stem the bleeding of critical library services that help Americans with job searches, small business development, financial literacy and other essential assistance in hard economic times.
Public libraries are facing the most severe cutbacks in decades as budget shortfalls hit cities, towns and rural areas across the country, according to the association. From Los Angeles to Boston, libraries are cutting hours and services; some are even facing the threat of closure at a time when their support is needed most.
The ALA claims that libraries provide most of the free internet access in both urban and rural areas [of course, it isn't exactly free, since tax dollars pay for it], and that, according to Professor Joe Matthews, every dollar invested in libraries both multiplies and becomes critical to recovery from the recession:
“Economic studies demonstrate the positive impact of spending in local communities,” said Joe Matthews, an internationally recognized expert on library management with an MBA degree from the University of California, Irvine.
“Known as the multiplier affect, every dollar spent in the community will ripple through the economy with an impact ranging from 7 to 11 times the initial spending,” he added. “The proposed stimulus spending for America’s public libraries will have an enormous impact on local economies, helping communities across the country get back on track financially.” Matthews is an acclaimed author and professor at San Joe University.
Of course this must mean that city government leaders across the country are idiots, as they are choosing, in tough budgetary times, to make cuts in library services before those non-essentials like police, firefighting, EMS, and sewer.
Which, of course, is why the Federal government should spend another $100 million of money we don't have to bail them out.
[h/t Kids Prefer Cheese]