Dark Ages

In Oregon’s Jackson County, 15 library branches are set to close due to lack of funding. How is this possible in modern America, where a county cannot afford to keep any of their libraries open?

I am a huge proponent of libraries in general, and specifically the American public library systems that have kept our population informed and educated for centuries. The Public Library is an American institution, a place where any citizen can go to borrow books and find a quiet place to read and to study. I use public libraries all the time for study purposes, and every night I show up there I can see that the building is always packed with students, professionals, housewives, immigrants, teachers, and children all looking intently for information.

It is something I’ve always taken for granted really – the library is always there. When I lived in Boston, I spent countless hours at the main branch of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square doing homework and research for my music courses. At Chautauqua in New York, I’d sit in that library every Saturday morning reading everything from Lorca poems to Hindu philosophy. Often when I travel to Albuquerque, I go and park myself in the library there to take advantage of the quiet environment and free wi-fi to get some studying done. And I visit the local libraries in my home town at least once a month to do research and homework for my current education program.

So when I hear that a county is losing all of their public libraries, it boggles my mind. How is this even possible? But then, it boggles my mind that we don’t have a national health insurance program, so I suppose anything is possible at this point. Perhaps we should all just go back to living in caves and wearing grass skirts and bearskins. If I were living in Jackson County in Oregon, I would be raising hell right about now, and looking for replacements for the current leadership that has so miserably failed these people.

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