Minneapolis Libraries Want Your Opinion

This was posted to the Minneapolis Issues Forum :

The Minneapolis Public Library Board will hold its final public community meeting regarding the development of the 2007 – 2009 budget on Monday, September 25.  The venue will be Northeast Community Library located at 2200 Central Ave. NE  (Metro bus route 10 on Central Ave; route 32 on Lowry Ave, 3 blocks north).  In an attempt to accomodate work / family schedules, the meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. and will run until at least 9:00 p.m.

(The link may require a log-in but it’s free and if you live in Minneapolis, you should be reading this forum. There’s ones for St. Paul and Roseville too. Hell, they’ve even expanded their franchise to the UK! The forums cover local issues.)

The meeting is tonight. Please attend if you can and haven’t yet given your thoughts. If you cannot attend, this page links to a survey where you can leave your input.

The libraries in Minneapolis are in a terrible state. I am embarrassed for our City that we, the residents, cannot figure out a way to keep all the libraries open at least six days a week. As I walk around my neighborhood, I see clearly the growth of the immigrant community — especially from Africa right now — and I know that the library is one of the most important resources that we can offer them.

I won’t go into the roots of what happened to the MPL (Minneapolis Public Libraries) budget except to say that it had to do with the Minnesota State budget problems precipitated by politicians who don’t think we should pay more taxes.

At the opening of the new and beautiful central library in downtown Minneapolis, I was able to ask Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak about the library problem. His response was that we have to choose between libraries and police and fire personnel. No. I don’t want to make that choice. Because I believe that an informed citizenry — which is what libraries will give us — will reduce city budgets. For one thing, new residents to the City, no matter from where they hail, will use the Library to help in learning how to get basic things done with the City’s bureaucracy. (Has anyone even looked at how the libraries reduce load on City offices by providing the same information? That would make for an excellent research study.)

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