Why are libraries under the gun while corporations get off scott free?

The Toronto Public Library system isn’t the only library in trouble in North America. While their solution is to rally creators to inspire the public to lobby an unresponsive city council, The New York Times reports that other libraries like Adams Memorial Library in Central Falls, R.I. are trying to make do by relying on volunteer staff, donations, and fundraisers.  Interestingly, public school libraries have been struggling under similar circumstances with cuts to staffing and funding for their collections.  I can recall that one of the arguments made for the reduction of school libraries was that the service they provided could be provided by public libraries.  Now, neither school nor public libraries are safe.

I can’t keep up with the constant requests for book donations from parent groups, educators, and libraries (public and school libraries both the US and Canada) who are beating the bushes for any means to keep their libraries functioning.  Of course I applaud their efforts.  But with fewer purchases of books from schools and libraries and fewer book purchases from individuals who have been hit hard by tough economic times, creators are not in a position to offer freebies.  Most writers do not sign million dollar blockbuster deals. Instead, the majority work hard for little pay.  For example, I make less today than I did 25 years ago as a full-time teacher.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining. I love what I do, and I’ve had a fair bit of success at it.  I made a conscious decision to enter a less secure field.  The decrease in financial rewards have been offset by a more flexible schedule, the ability to choose what I want to work on, and the rewards of creating a lasting body of work.  But as writers, we are simply not in a position to meet today’s donation demands which requires us purchasing large quantities of our books from our publishers (no they aren’t free) then turning around and donating both our  books and the shipping costs to needy schools and libraries.

What is more disturbing is that while libraries teeter on the edge of survival, large corporations like General Electric, paid no federal income tax last year despite large profits.

Isn’t there something wrong with this picture?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Why are libraries under the gun while corporations get off scott free ... | SchoolLibrariesTeacherLibrarians | Scoop.it

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