Spend Millions on the library?

By: Diane Benjamin

The stats below are from the latest Bloomington financial statements: https://www.cityblm.org/home/showpublisheddocument?id=25360

PDF pages 197-198

Lots of other stats are included on the same pages. Below is how the City printed the information instead of going with landscape which would have made it easier to read.

Traffic citations are way down. So are juvenile arrests.

What you need to see and the library needs to explains is THIER stats. Visitors and Circulation don’t show a need for expansion. If they are using “if we build it they will come” philosophy, we’ve seen that game before. Coliseum and BCPA (2019) stats are on the same pages. Experience proves government builds what they want, not what you need. COVID didn’t affect the library numbers, Fiscal Year 2019 ended 4/30/2019.

6 thoughts on “Spend Millions on the library?

  1. In a digital age, libraries have become increasingly irrelevant. For a time, they democratized access to information and knowledge. We now have the internet for that. Nearly everyone has a device (usually more than one) with internet connectivity giving them instant access to all sorts of information or perspectives that all the libraries in the world combined could not hold. In an effort to remain relevant, libraries have tried to recast or rebrand themselves, offering classes/programming and “free” internet access. These efforts are merely desperate, last-ditch attempts to remain relevant. Classes and programming on virtually any subject are already offered remotely and in-person (when permitted) through various groups, organizations, and entities, both formal and informal, often at low or no cost. Internet access to those without access may be a more laudable goal, but the number of folks without access to the internet is less than 10% nationally and continuously dropping. Let’s face it, building a new library is not about meeting a growing demand or unfulfilled need, but rather it’s about creating construction jobs, rewarding government employees, and virtue signaling by the local educated elitist class.

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    1. ” We now have the internet for that.”
      And every thing on the internet is true and factual? Don’t think so.

      ” Nearly everyone has a device (usually more than one) with internet connectivity giving them instant access to all sorts of information or perspectives that all the libraries in the world combined could not hold”.

      Not everyone has a device and not everyone is connected. There is a digital divide that poor do not have access to the internet nor do they have devices. I don’t know where exactly you picked up the 10 percent number but: “The Federal Communications Commission’s latest report claims that, as of 2017, 21 million Americans lacked broadband internet. However, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel told Axios on Monday that figure “radically overstates” how many people actually have reliable connections.Go into any public library and the one thing that always busy is the public computers. At public libraries people now park outside to pick up the library’s Wifi.

      In fact check the prices of e-books, audiobooks etc. on any for profit business from Amazon, Apple, if you’re downloading them it’s actually expensive. You can log on to the library website and download any ebook, emagazine, audiobook, music and videos, all free of charge with your library card. Apparently, that’s a desperate last ditch effort to what???…I guess spending money is of no consequences to you. During the pandemic all you have to do is log to the library web site put any book on hold in advance and go to the library and pick it up curbside. Public libraries go all out to serve their patrons,. that’s the mark of any good corporations or businesses. Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn’t do for money. Public libraries are part of that history. All most everyone who enters a library from the toddlers to the elderly use the public library as the free expression of this country’s liberty and democracy. Countries around the world copied our system of public libraries that’s how important public libraries are to those intangible ideas freedom of thought and understanding.

      Sorry you last argument is nonsensical. Local educated elitist class? Well far be it that anyone should be educated or able to learn anything. Since when is an education, love of reading or knowledge “elitist”? There are places that people go to learn and they are called public libraries they not out of fashion or obsolete.

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      1. Information found online can be factual/correct or false, I agree 100%. That’s the beauty of the marketplace of ideas. By your comment, you seem to imply that everything in library books is or ought to be factually correct. Why else raise this point? Libraries can and do screen materials whereas the internet at-large does not. The 10% stat comes from Pew Research (www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/internet-broadband/). The digital divide is grossly exaggerated. Generally, those without internet are in the 65+ demo and are less likely to be in need of or otherwise desire connectivity. People park outside the Panera (and hangout inside when allowed) for free WiFi too…what’s your point? No one is disputing the offering of current services such as ebooks, e-magazines, audiobooks, music, and video materials. This may be worthy of inclusion in the discussion of the future of libraries. We can agree there. However, we don’t need to build an overpriced brand new government building to house downloadable materials.

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  2. And you’re statement that libraries are only places for “elite” educated class isn’t questionable? If someone is educated, then they are well read and value a good public library as important. Yes, libraries and librarians go to great lengths to ensure each book content is true and factual, that the role of each librarian who selects books and materials to be included in its collection. That goes for any book or source that would be included in any reference materials.

    As far as buildings, I suppose you’re going to argue that public schools are now extinct since kids can study at home and online. If you extend the editor’s and your logic, schools should remain remote and students should never go to a building, since the internet is the marketplace of ideas and everything on the internet is true. That’s far from the truth and your argument about library buildings fly in the face of many thousands municipalities who have built great public libraries. Those millions were money very well spent for the common good of those cities and villages residents. Those libraries are well attended by their citizens and valued as important institutions on par with their public schools and public parks. This entire diatribe is being promoted by those who don’t use libraries and see no value in having them at ALL. Perhaps you need to come out and say that there is NO value in public libraries, they should all be torn down. That would be more honest than what either of you are trying to pass off as some sort of tax saving proposal.

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  3. When I asked why Normal needed a new library, the answer was “more meeting rooms” However, The Town Hall, aka Transportation Center, aka Amtrak Station has numerous meeting rooms sitting idle most of the day, almost all evenings and weekends. Pick a few different days of the week and time of the day and walk through the Town Hall part of the building. The meeting rooms are like ghost towns for the most part. Governments like to spend money on large Capital projects, to build monuments to themselves. Look at school buildings that sit mostly idle all summer and are used about 6 hours per day for less than 9 months (Winter Break, Spring Break, Thanksgiving and more and more government holidays. What would be wrong with year around education or morning and afternoon shifts to match parents’ working shifts? Nothing !! School boards always favor building over more intensive use of the expensive capital.

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