Why Libraries in Miami Are More Important Than Ever

The_Dissident.jpg
As The Dissident, J.J. Colagrande turns his critical eye on Miami culture. This week: Closing 22 libraries in Miami? You've gotta be kidding.

Closing almost half of the city libraries is wrong on so many levels, and it's time for a quick call-to-action to ensure that Mayor Carlos Gimenez changes his mind, before it's too late.

In case you didn't hear, the mayor, in a last minute reversal of plans, has flipped his position on raising property taxes, and instead, has decided to recommend cuts in community services.

According to the Miami Herald, the library system as well as the Fire Department would be hit the hardest. In a "worst case scenario," six fire stations would close down, and 22 libraries.

Not surprisingly, most of the libraries are in poor neighborhoods.

Let's be clear: libraries are more important than ever. Granted, the digital age is transforming how we read and gather information. But libraries are still central to that process. The primary purpose of a library is to offer access for the public to free information. Information and education do not grow on trees, after all.

Adults may be using libraries for Internet access more than books, but online access is still an essential service. A recent New York Times article cites: "More than a quarter of all adults used the Internet at a library during the past year. The numbers are higher for blacks and Latinos than for whites."

Additionally, almost one-third of adults in the U.S. do not subscribe to the Internet at home. That number is higher for African-Americans and Latinos. Imagine having no access to the Internet. How are those trying to improve their lives supposed to apply for jobs, research health care options, manage their money, or plan their children's futures?

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15 comments
MiamiDadeFLA
MiamiDadeFLA

Thanks for writing this and raising awareness to this important issue. 

miamilibraries
miamilibraries

How very nice to hear the voice of reason!!! YES! Our attitudes must come from the spirit of cooperation.  For heaven's sake, it is OUR money and OUR elected people to best manage it, for the benefit of EVERY citizen.  We all have to be on the same side!!!  There is no time (or reason) for petty fighting.   We have to all brainstorm to solve this puzzle of the budget. Onwards, Mr. Cologrande!

miamilibraries
miamilibraries

RALLY TO SAVE OUR LIBRARIES!!
Saturday,July 27th 2:00pm  at Concord Library,  (get there by 1:30!)112th Ave/SW 40th St (Bird Rd)Between Sally Beauty & YouFit Gym; in strip mall in front of Winn Dixie)
Bring posters, noisemakers, friends.
Please let the TV news cameras know!!! (If you have any way of
contacting any, or all, forms of media, PLEASE do so)
If WE don't speak up and let the Commissioners know about the things that we value, they will naturally use our tax monies for whatever they see fit. (So don’t complain later!)
Spread the word!AND SHOW UP!  
LIBRARIESequal LIBERTY!!!       sign the petition at:  https://www.change.org/petitions/miami-dade-county-commission-fully-fund-the-miami-dade-county-library-system

jjcolagrande
jjcolagrande

It is highly doubtful all 22 libraries will be closed; commissioners will lobby to save some in their districts. But, the real question is: what are the alternatives for raising funds? If they won't raise property taxes, what can be done--because gutting the library system should not be on-the table. What can they do? Can they instill a tax on hotels? On rental cars? On gasoline? On cigarettes? Maybe the game plan for raising revenue outlined by the Miami Dolphins in their failed attempt at getting a roof built could be used as a model for saving the libraries???

Lina Correa
Lina Correa

251 library employees and 149 fire rescue employees would lose their jobs under these cuts, adding to the already high unemployment rate in Miami. Those libraries get used a LOT.

NataliaSylvester
NataliaSylvester

This is so disturbing. I grew up in a low income family in Miami, and because my parents knew that education and imagination were the keys to opportunity, they took me and my sister to the library several times a week. We'd fill bags with books, take them home, read them, and come back  for more. I see this pattern repeated still today (yes, even in 2013, when people think libraries are no longer necessary). Children's appetites for knowledge are insatiable, and libraries are what help parents of all income levels nurture them. What will happen to those kids when those resources are no longer available to them?

Stacy Smith
Stacy Smith

This is sad that this is where they want to make cuts. Since Miami has such a high unemployment rate, my guess is that many of its residents cannot afford a home computer so they go to the library.

Firip Onitsuka
Firip Onitsuka

If only the State didn't make internet cafes illegal... Hmmm

Kenny Southwell
Kenny Southwell

like they can't find some wasteful programs to cut? gotta go after the low income programs first? we all know why.

realidaddy
realidaddy

@Jferever Gonz  Yes, you have to pay to use them and they don't lend out books or DVDs or provide friendly, educated librarians to help you do research. They don't promote literacy or put on storytelling festivals or reading time for kids. 

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