The Council Chambers were packed Wednesday night - with passionate and patient Library supporters. It was after 10 pm when the Council began discussion on The Plan for Closing the Long-Term Budget Gap. When it was time for public comment, library advocates of every age lined up to speak. And they spoke eloquently.
Author, Michael Katakis opened comments with a tribute to libraries as the place in a town "where dreams and wonder are stored."
Others echoed his comments. “The library is not just a big building with books…” It’s a place “where children embark on magical trips.” It’s a place for "people who understand the love of exploring.” "People are using library computers to look for jobs." "It's an anchor for families." It’s practically my 2nd home."
Every speaker expressed, in their own unique way, that “the Library is not an extra. It is essential.” “It’s a basic need.” "People need it to nourish themselves."
A 10 year old observed, “What is a city without a library? It’s a disaster.” Older PG residents made similar comments. “When you get down to closing your library, you’re saying, ‘this a is failed city.” “When a town loses its library, it loses it soul.”
Linda Bailey Smith, chair of the enormously successful Read-a-thon spoke for all Library supporters when she addressed the Council. “Sometimes unseen solutions come from taking a stand….I’m asking you to take a stand…. draw a line in the sand….No more cuts to the Library.”
You spoke up. And the Council listened. In a 5-1 vote, they agreed to remove “Close library/Eliminate General Fund support for library” from the Plan for Closing the Long-Term Budget Gap.
Later in the meeting, after midnight, the Council voted to place a $95 Library Parcel Tax on the November ballet. Designated specifically for the Library, this measure would require a two-thirds (66%) majority to pass. The second reading on this resolution will be August 5th. Stay tuned….