I don’t know if it’s because of the current main library renovations, the fact the city is planning a new branch library on the west side of town or the glut of recent news stories nationally about how library usage picks up during s economic downturns. In any event, I participated in a telephone survey over the weekend on spending for public libraries.
Although there were a significant number of questions, they fell into three main categories: whether you consider public library services as essential as the fire or police department, whether you would be willing to pay more taxes to better support public libraries and whether you think your local public library is doing a good job. Not surprisingly, my answers were at the strong end of the “yes” range on each issue.
I don’t know where the survey firm was from or whether the survey had anything to do with Sioux Falls. [After initially posting this, I discovered a study of library support in America released in June by the Online Computer Library Center. Many of the questions it used are very similar to those I was asked so perhaps the survey is ongoing.] I did, though, get a kick out of the reaction when I answered the question about how many times I’d visited the local public library in the last 12 months. When I said probably at least 24 times, the man conducting the survey asked in a unquestionably surprised tone, “Really?”
Of course, given the fact I’ve been to the library twice in the last five days, maybe I underestimated.
The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.
Kurt Vonnegut, I Love You, Madame Librarian