Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Number Ones

It was exhilarating to watch the demo crew knock down the building beside my library today. This is good, when the library building will eventually expand into the space occupied by the former grocery store/pharmacy. I called it the ghetto Rite Aid. It had been empty for 2 years. Of course, people assume that the project is a given, but it isn't. There is no state or federal funding for library projects in ME. For expansion/renovation projects there is usually a public/private partnership when it comes to fundraising. Many don't understand the need to expand, although when it comes to schools, they don't stand for overcrowding or mediocre facilities. NCLB and state mandates put pressure on the educators, but they are fortunate to receive federal funding (even with all the messy strings attached). We just need to educate the public about how busy we are, who we serve and what it will do for the city.

I can't help but wonder if there is some sort of blue collar stigma when it comes to public libraries, and out of fear a resistance to support them financially. They don't need libraries when they can go on the internet or to a store to buy things. They don't want to share, both the items and the space with those who they would rather turn an eye to than look straight on. Those people, poor, mentally ill, homeless, rely upon us, but don't contribute financially in a way others could. I feel like Dickens here, but I am a great believer in recycling things, whether it be clothes, books, or even ideas. Public libraries don't deal with pretty things, and we don't discriminate either. I'd rather deal with a smelly, grateful person than an uppity, arrogant one.

I got an anniversary gift tonight: a new laptop. This means I can blog upstairs in my TV room, on the comfy leather sofa in my PJ's. Hooray! Our 1 year anniversary is this weekend. It feels like we have known each other a lot longer, but not in one of those "Oh my god, I can't believe we've lasted this long" sort of ways. I've been that complacent before, and it's not good. It's like ignoring a mysterious pain, or accepting an older person is racist because it's a part of their generation. Luckily that's not my case.

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