I have been attending the city council’s budget hearings, and one thing that really alarms me is Mayor Robinson-Briggs's proposal for the 2012 budget, which would cut the funding for the Plainfield Public Library by nearly half. First, as we learned at the budget hearing, the library was not even notified that the budget hearings were taking place, and a budget recommendation was given to the city council by the mayor and her administration without any input from the library. Second, to cut the library funding while at the same time increasing the budget in other areas would be disastrous, with more employee layoffs and a drastic cut in the library’s operating hours.
With tens of thousands of library card holders, the Library serves more Plainfield residents than any other agency in the city. From preschool children to our senior citizens, from job seekers to those needing to learn how to read, from those without computer or Internet access to those neighborhood groups who use the library’s community rooms for meeting space, the Plainfield Public Library serves the entire Plainfield community.
As a teacher here in Plainfield, as a parent with two children in the school system, as a taxpayer, and as a frequent library user (I have been using the Plainfield library since I was a child getting my first library card), I am wondering why the mayor has decided to cut the most important public resource in our city—it’s not right.
We need to save our library, and there are ways you can help right away.
First, come out to the library Saturday afternoon (May 19) between 4:00 and 7:00 PM for the 2012 Wine Discovery wine-tasting event. The proceeds ($60/ticket) will be used by the all-volunteer Friends of the Plainfield Public Library to support programs for our children, young people, adults, and senior citizens. You can become a Friend of the Library, where your annual dues, will help support all the programs. Annual dues are less than the cost of a pizza—for students and senior citizens, just $10 a year! For individuals, it’s $25, and for couples, it’s $45.
Also, become a Library Champion and speak up on behalf of the Library, such as during the City's budget process, which is occurring right now. The city council will be scheduling more hearings for budget amendments, at which time you can come before the microphone during public comment to make your voice heard. The city council is elected to serve us, and we cannot allow them to go along with the mayor’s proposal.
For more information about the attack on the library’s funding, and how you can let your elected officials know how you feel, click on the link: Support the Library!