Wednesday, January 18, 2012

another unemployed librarian opposes SOPA

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's NOT a PR problem!

Dear A_U_L Readers,

I got waylaid by a book review, then by a really bad cold, so this post comes to you a couple weeks late. Nothing has changed though. Hope you find it of interest, and that I can get back on track with Saturday postings next week.

All best,

As a former member of the governing Council of the American Library Association, I continue to follow alacoun-listserv conversations, paying more-or-less attention depending on the topic. When the school librarians in Los Angeles were being tried regarding their status as teachers in that basement “courtroom” in early May, ALA Council members engaged in a bit of conversation about what was happening.

I was very dismayed to read one councilor’s message, a reply to another councilor’s posting in which she noted how disturbed she was at the treatment of the Los Angeles librarians. After agreeing that this was a demoralizing affair, the councilor wrote:
I have to wonder, though, whose fault it is if people don't understand what school librarians do. We have failed as a profession to make our society aware of what librarians in general do. We've yet to find the right message in the right venue to the right audience to make our value understood. I find that depressing, given the amount of money and effort that we as a profession have expended on getting that message across. [posted May 15, 2011]

Talk about blaming the victim – which later the writer above said was not his intent, offering an apology. However, after-the-fact retractions of this sort have a hollow ring to them and he continued to maintain that a lack of understanding was at the root of the situation.

The problem in our schools across the country has almost nothing to do with whether or not decision-makers understand the important role librarians and libraries play in the education of children. Yes, of course, there are some ignorant administrators, but, in my experience, most have both awareness and appreciation for the invaluable contributions our profession makes in the lives of children. And, to regard what is happening to school librarians and libraries as primarily a public relations problem is a HUGE mistake.

So, what did ALA do? Along with the American Association of School Librarians, ALA sent an open letter to the superintendent of the LAUSD expressing deep concern that

…the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is considering defunding its school librarian positions (or “teacher librarian” positions, as they are known in California) from its schools. If the elimination moves forward, only 32 of approximately 700 schools will have full-time school librarians and only 10 will have part-time school librarians. This means that approximately 600,000 students will be deprived of one of the most valuable educational resources needed for students to compete in today’s 21st century workforce – a school librarian…. (1)

The letter then went on to describe how important librarians are in schools.

In other words ALA and AASL treated the situation as one stemming only from a lack of understanding on the part of LAUSD administrators. Not one word addressing the real culprit – the fact that what is happening to our school librarians and libraries is part of a long, steady, relentless attack on the public sphere. (2)

Yes, what is happening in our schools is one more result of the actions of political and economic players who for the past 30 years have been intent on diminishing, downsizing and ultimately destroying public institutions, services and programs of all sorts – unions, parks, community health clinics, welfare, social security, education…libraries.

All done to eliminate supposedly wasteful, inept, over-staffed government services. Starting with the Reagan administration and carrying forward under every administration since (Republican or Democratic – matters not).

Libraries have no public relations problems. Everybody LOVES libraries – except those people who see dollar signs and drool over the tax monies that could go in to their private pockets if they weren’t going into public budgets.

So, the privateers peck away at this program and that program.
– Hospitals – privatized!
– Prisons – privatized!
– Custodial services – privatized!
– Government information – privatized!
– Schools – charterized!
– Libraries –- ?????

To be continued.

(1) For the ALA/AASL open letter to LAUSD, see

(2) See Dismantling the Public Sphere: Situating and Sustaining Librarianship in the Age of the New Public Philosophy, by John E. Buschman. Westport CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2003.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Inquisition in LA & Unemployment Isn't Contagious

Inquisition in Los Angeles

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported on a series of trials being conducted in a makeshift basement courtroom by Los Angeles Unified School District of 80 high school and middle school librarians, one after the other taking the stand in an effort to prove they teach “classes.” At stake? A job. Not their jobs as librarians, those have been axed, but as classroom teachers.

A court reporter takes down testimony. A judge grants or denies objections from attorneys. Armed police officers hover nearby. On the witness stand, one librarian at a time is summoned to explain why she — the vast majority are women — should be allowed to keep her job.

Most school librarians are certified teachers, and union contracts, like LA’s, often include provisions allowing librarians to move into classroom positions in the event of fiscal cuts. These LA librarians must prove they have taught “classes” for the last five years in order to qualify for transfers into classroom jobs.

The image of these librarians, quietly awaiting their turn, clutching document-filled manila folders with lesson plans, schedules, reports, then politely responding to questions, and finally walking up the stairs into LA’s air and sunshine, fills one with sorrow and horror and a sense of complete helplessness, as if watching bulldozers ground olive trees, community gardens, homes, and, now, libraries into the ground, into dust, into nothing but memories.

Lawyers in white shirts steamrolling librarians.

Unions standing by making sure the machine works properly.

The librarians themselves, dancing in macabre, ritual fashion to the prescribed tune, to secure a job – a job, mind you, that somebody else currently occupies and probably needs.

What is going on? Where is the outrage?

Which brings me to the post I’d prepared for today, before news from LA came to my attention via the WLMA listserv.

Unemployment Isn’t Contagious – So Show a Little Compassion (and a lot of outrage!)

One of the first things that happened two years ago, following the announcement that high school and middle school librarian positions in my former school district were to be eliminated, was that the elementary school librarians collectively decided not to participate in our scheduled, end-of-year, K-12 librarians meeting. The reason given (in an e-mail, of course) was that there were pressing K-5 matters to discuss.

After the initial shock, then a flash of anger, I settled into feeling nothing but depressed. Bad enough to have gone through the principal’s revelation that my job was a goner, but to have my librarian colleagues cancel what would be our last opportunity to meet as a group was a below-the-belt sort of blow.

“For crying out loud,” I thought. “You’d think we’d been diagnosed with TB, leprosy and the flu!” And, it wasn’t just me. The reaction of my middle school colleagues was similar.

I never spoke with any of the elementary librarians about how their decision felt (in retrospect, however, I certainly should have), and although I saw some of them the following year at a state conference, none of us mentioned the incident. I imagine that it simply never occurred to them to wonder about how we must have felt or what we might have thought of this action.

So, why revisit this unpleasant memory?

This is why – the cuts, downsizing, and now trials, continue. Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Texas, Washington – in school districts, towns, and counties across the country librarians either

1) know they won’t have a job next year;
2) are exercising their “bumping rights” or are being bumped; or
3) are preparing to adjust from full-time to part-time work, and perhaps looking for a second job.

As far as the big picture is concerned, it doesn’t matter which of these scenarios is being played out in one’s life – all bring into play emotions and life adjustments (of income, residence, sense-of-self) that must be recognized and acknowledged, not only by the librarian directly impacted, but by family, friends, and – yes – colleagues.

In December of 2009 (just as I was giving up my apartment and preparing to live off my savings for 7 months while studying and traveling in Europe – so don’t feel sorry for me!), a poll was conducted by the New York Times and CBS News, which described the emotional and financial impact of unemployment:

69 percent were more stressed
55 percent had trouble sleeping
48 percent experienced anxiety or depression
46 percent felt embarrassed or ashamed
60 percent took money out of savings or retirement
53 percent borrowed from family or friends

And, that is just the impact on the unemployed person. The impact, of course, ripples throughout that person’s life touching their children, other family members, their colleagues and the people served by the job the person once held. It's felt even by complete strangers. I do not know any of the librarians in Los Angeles who went through the horror of last week’s trials, but knowing of this incident is almost terrifying in its implications. What's next?

All of which raises what I am beginning to think should be the “guiding question” for the 21st century: Where are our priorities?

How is it that the U.S. of A. would rather tolerate watching librarians be put on trail for their jobs (and millions of other people put out of work), than to demand the cessation of bailouts for banks, tax cuts for corporations, and the killing, maiming, dislocation of people in the Middle East by our military?

And, lastly, on a person-to-person level, if you know a librarian (or anybody else) whose job is being eliminated, or downsized, or transfered or who is being put on trial (either literally or figuratively), give them some kind words. Recognize what is happening. Don't treat them as if they've a deadly, contagious disease.

A little solidarity can go a long way in shoring up the physical and emotional strength needed to weather unemployment.

Related Reading & Viewing

Disgraceful Interrogation of L.A. School Librarians, by Hector Tobar,0,3002882.column

Poll Reveals Trauma of Joblessness in U.S., by Michael Luo and Megan Thee-Brenan

How Unemployment Effects Families

Saturday, April 30, 2011

May Day – May Day – Unions, where the hell are you?

In Libraryland May Day 2011 arrives exactly one week after the Statesman Journal of Salem, Oregon, announced that the Salem-Keizer School District plans to use 89% of its librarians to help cut the budget. (1)

That’s right. The proposal would eliminate 49 of SKSD’s 55 librarians – that is every elementary and middle school librarian in the district. High school librarians will be retained in order to keep district high schools from losing their accreditation, the loss of which would endanger graduates chances of college acceptance.

While the Statesman is silent on the unions’ positions regarding the proposed cuts, if Oregon unions are anything like those here in Washington, they are sending out e-mails and buses to the capitol (Salem is, in fact, the capital of Oregon), but they are basically going along with the idea that the wholesale elimination of members jobs is the only choice.

Back in the day, the union attitude was “an injury to one is an injury to all.” And, in some places and with some unions this is still the prevailing outlook with budget cuts being done across-the-board – a little bit from everybody to prevent job loss.

Here are the numbers presented by SKSD officials:

Close small schools – $600,000
Cut 135 classified staff – $7.7 million
Cut classified pay – $3.8 million
Cut 8 vice principals – $1.8 million
Cut administrative pay – $871,000
Cut 50 high school teachers – $5 million
Cut K-8 librarians – $3.8 million
Close a swimming pool – $100,000

TOTAL savings – $23.6 million

I visited the SKSD website and took a look at its financial report (2) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, just to get an idea of what we’re looking at here. If I understand the report accurately, it looks to me like the administration is taking a 2% pay cut in comparison to a classified pay cut of 4%. How fair is that? Especially when each vice principal is costing $225,000 per year compared to a classified’s $57,037 per year. And the vice principals are certainly receiving considerably less than principals and upper-level district administrators. If we take a look at what each of the cut people is saving the district, we find what has become the “normal” income disparity in this country. Cutting one

vice principal saves $225,000/year,
high school teacher saves $100,000/year,
librarian saves $77,551/year, and
classified staff saves $57,037.

Have the unions suggested across-the-board pay cuts? For instance, a 25% cut to administrators would still give them considerably more pay than high school teachers, but would lessen the income gap considerably. Licensed staff (teachers, librarians, counselors, etc.) could take a 10% cut, and leave classified (the lowest paid school district staff) get the 4% cut proposed for them.

If my estimates are anywhere near correct, this would bring a savings of $29 million without one single lost job.

Certainly, such cuts would be a hardship, but ask yourself this:

Would you rather lose your job or take pay cut?

Three years ago, if the district administration had had the decency to ask me this question, I’d have happily taken a pay cut or even been willing to go to half-time rather than lose my job altogether.

But, the bean-counting, budget-cutting, ax-wielders never ask, and many unions never demand that their members be asked.

And, lastly, about that swimming pool.

Almost any kid can swim, but not every kid can play football, basketball, do gymnastics, wrestling, golf, etc. So why in the world, of all the sports school districts pay for, why cut the pool?

Many thanks to my wonderful sister for forwarding the Statesman link!



Saturday, April 23, 2011

A New Wave?

Is there any reason to expect (or desire) the economy to “recover”? I don’t think so, largely because the whole profit-as-incentive, American Dream-machine continues its stranglehold on large portions of the population who ideologically continue to support with votes, money, phone calls, IMs, the system (and the people) who propose, implement and enforce economic relationships that have by necessity put us where we are now. The rich can continue to maximize profits, and become astronomically richer, only at the expense of the poor and middle class. Last November, Washington state voters turned down a referendum to establish a state income tax, a proposal that would have also placed a somewhat larger share of taxes on the wealthy in order to give a financial boost to public services – especially education. But, our profit-as-incentive, American Dream-machine has so constricted the blood flow to the American brain that people largely cannot imagine wanting anything other than the system that allows every individual a chance to “make a killing and be set for life” – win the Lotto, be the Survivor, get discovered as the next American Idol. Sad, but there is actually a simple logic to this – if you dream of becoming rich, then you’ve got to support their club, play by their rules, and otherwise pay homage to all that paves the way to their grandiose heights. So, on the first Tuesday of November, one votes against taxation of the rich, supports corporate tax incentives, and daydreams about The Day.

Of course, there are those who do know the system for what it largely and truly is – a mechanism for increasing the wealth of a few at the expense of everybody else and the planet. Yes, crumbs are, indeed, handed down to those faithful retainers whose allegiance is essential in supporting (and, these days, propping up) the entire structure, but the faith has never been reciprocated. Retainers have always been, and will forever be, expendable. We who recognize the truth of this, unfortunately, are still a part of it and feel increasingly strait-jacketed by an economic system that doesn’t give us any option to opt-out (except via homelessness).

Strange, no? In the land where "consumer choice” is the hallmark of freedom, the people have no choice but to participate in this economy or be out on the street.

These are the thoughts running through my mind as I await official notice that I won't have a job next year.

Today is the day before the state legislature is due to finalize next year’s budget, and the plan right now in the school district is to downsize several libraries to halftime, a move that would set in motion a shuffling of personnel. And, because I was willing to accept a non-continuing contract in exchange for employment last fall, I have no standing, no “bumping rights,” no nothing. Somebody has to be last. There’s always got to be a loser. Right? Maybe, but I might get lucky (too bad I don’t do Lotto) and be offered one of the halftime positions after all the shuffling is over. Stressful time, is it not?

To tell the truth, I actually find the situation intriguing. Like I’m riding a wave toward the unknown. Yes, it’s scary, but also exhilarating. What are the possibilities? Well, I might drown. But, then I might not. The wave could carry me to a new unimagined, unexpected, unexplored place.

How great to be part of a “new wave,” an avant-garde, a…revolution? To be on the crest of a wave that must, as all waves must, crash against a well-established shore and, in crashing, to perhaps completely alter the shoreline – how wonderful might that be?

To be on the wave that could crush soul- and planet-destroying Capitalism out of existence – what a time to be alive!

But, it is also a time to be prepared. As best, of course, as is possible. Eyes wide open, reflexes ready, mind alert, all senses poised for opportunity and alliance.

Where are you on this wave?

Next week…Back to Basics.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Letting Go of the Shore

This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel like they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off toward the middle of the river,
keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

See who is there with you and celebrate.

Excerpt from "Message of the Hopi Elders" 1

Losing your job? Hours? Benefits?

In Washington State’s capitol this week budget proposals included attacks on negotiated union contracts, across-the-board reductions in teacher pay, increased class sizes, and divide-and-conquer tactics through the elimination of salary step increases for experience and education with exceptions for math and science teachers.

Also this week, I learned that my job will be taken by another librarian who will be transferring from her school where the library program is being cut to half-time. There might be a half-time position for me elsewhere in the district, but I won’t know for another week or two. Stay tuned.

All because of the national/state/local budget cutting frenzies.

On Thursday’s program of Democracy Now! I listened to several people being interviewed about the state of the economy and our budget woes.2 I give you quotes from three DN! guests as a window onto directions some people think we should take. Sometimes I think we are clinging too tightly to our familiar, but corrupt, shores. Myself included. I’m beginning to think that maybe we should look to the collapsing economy with open arms and welcome the opportunity to dream a new dream, as suggested by 96-year-old Grace Lee Boggs (see below). The quotes that follow represent, for me, the gradations of letting go.

Letting Go of Corporate Welfare

CONGRESSMEMBER RAÚL GRIJALVA, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus: [In the People’s Budget] we put things on the table that are not part of the other budgets. We say that $30-$40 billion a year in subsidies to Big Oil and Big Gas need to be on the table, and cuts need to occur. We put on there the tax breaks that corporations have that take their jobs overseas; we put that on the table. We put military spending and the wars on the table for reductions. The difference is that fundamental, that we are putting items that are taxpayer-funded on the table that lobbyists and corporations do not allow to go on the table.

JUAN GONZALEZ: …isn’t it time, perhaps, for a lot of these young people to do what was done in the '60s with the Freedom Riders? And basically your state is really the new Alabama, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the new Bull Connor. Isn't it perhaps time to shut down Phoenix, to declare a Dream Summer in 2012 in Arizona and have tens of thousands of young Latinos converge on Arizona in the midst of a presidential election year and force the entire country to deal with this issue?

Letting Go of War

REVEREND JIM WALLIS: The framework in this debate is just wrong. The Republicans say, "We have no money, and we have to cut everything." Democrats say, "Well, yeah, but not that much." And then they fight back and forth and threaten government shutdowns. Really, it’s a matter of choices that we’re making.

They were talking about cutting $8.5 billion from low-income housing, but keeping the same amount of money, $8.4 billion, for deductions on second vacation homes—a different kind of housing. Those are choices. $2.5 billion for cutting home heating oil for poor people, and yet $2.5 billion for offshore drilling subsidies for oil companies—those are choices. Amy, they want to cut, in this budget, 10 million malaria bed nets that keep kids from dying, and yet not one line item of military spending. And so, this is really not scarcity; it’s choices.

They [Republicans and Tea Party] don’t talk about massive corporate subsidies, corporate welfare, if you will. They don’t talk about military spending, not at all. We spend more on the military—I won’t call it "defense"; it isn’t defense—more on the military than the rest of the world combined. And they can’t find anything to cut. So they’re not budget hawks, they’re budget hypocrites, is what they are.

And then, President Obama yesterday at least finally got off the sidelines and addressed the issue. And he laid out some foundations that could be good, if in fact—his most important line was: "They’re going to cut Head Start for kids, healthcare for seniors, and afford tax breaks for the wealthiest even more. That’s wrong, and it won’t happen when I’m president." That line, "That’s wrong, and it won’t happen while I’m the president," is the most important line of his speech. He’s going to have to get used to saying that, over and over and over again.

But Mr. Obama didn’t even mention the war in Afghanistan. The truth is, those of us—many of us have formed—we’re calling it a "circle of protection" around the most critical programs for the poorest people. And the Catholic bishops and World Vision, National Association of Evangelicals, everybody is involved in this. But the President, by withdrawing 5,000 troops from Afghanistan, could protect all the programs that we’re trying to protect. Not a word last night about the wars that have cost this nation so dearly in lives and now in the possibility of a moral budget here. So, neither side is dealing with the real issues here yet. The President began to last night, but I hope he begins to, in fact, act on what he began to say yesterday.

Letting Go of a Corrupt Society

JUAN GONZALEZ: Grace, you’re 96 years old. When you got your Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr in 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the president. He was someone who saw the need—the moral issues of political leadership, as well, and really sought to indict those who had created the crisis of the Depression. But now you’re saying that you believe that the real revolution is not a political one, but is a cultural one, or, as you’re saying, in terms of reshaping our relationships with each other. But how do you respond then to the millions of Americans who are out of jobs, who say that they may want to change their relationships to other people, but they also have to be able to make a living to support their families?

GRACE LEE BOGGS: Well, let’s—that business of making a living, I think, is what we need to challenge. I think that in Detroit, because of the devastation of deindustrialization, we recognize that we have to reimagine work, that we have to reimagine how we relate to one another. We have to see that the jobs that paid us income also turned us into consumers and robbed us of some of our creativity, and robbed us also of our obligations to one another and robbed us of our relationships to community, and that we have to restore those. And that’s part of what human beings have done through the ages, and that it’s a privilege to do that. It’s difficult, but it’s also a challenge….

…there are huge financial issues in Detroit, but you can’t look at a time like this mainly in terms of finances. You have to ask yourself, if 10,000 students are dropping out of school every year, creating a huge fiscal crisis, is it a financial question, or have the schools failed? And were they created at a time when people were thinking an industrial society and preparing children for a job in a society that no longer exists? And do we have to begin looking at our children and our educational system in terms of how children can become a part of the solving of our city’s problems, and not isolated in classrooms to be given information that they regurgitate so that they can get jobs which don’t exist?…

…And I think it’s very difficult for someone who doesn’t live in Detroit to say you can look at a vacant lot and, instead of seeing devastation, see hope, see the opportunity to grow your own food, see an opportunity to give young people a sense of process, that’s very difficult in the city, that the vacant lot represents the possibilities for a cultural revolution. It’s amazing how few Americans understand that, even though I think filmmakers and writers are coming to the city and trying to spread the word.

1. I do not know the source of this poem attributed to the Hopi Elders, but the sentiments expressed are most relevant to the times we are living.

2. For the entire Democracy Now program from which these quotes are taken see:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

This Mess Has a History

Last night most of us went to sleep believing the federal government would be closed for business when we awoke this morning. But – good news! – a deal was made and Planned Parenthood reports that “American women made their voices heard today, and Washington, DC, listened.”

We can all breathe a sigh of relief – for the moment, anyway – and get back to our day-to-day routines and concerns, like the fact that, despite last night’s wheeling-and-dealing, the economy is still a mess. And, yes, this mess has a history.

All last month, when students in my school library’s computer lab would log on to ProQuest, we’d be treated to the smiling, youthful visages of Nancy and Ronald Reagan, American flag whipping breezily in the background. I’m sure the students thought nothing of the photo, but I greatly resented ProQuest’s in-your-face propagandizing for the man whose administration launched the rich into Olympian orbits of ever-increasing wealth and shoved the middle class and poor onto the downward spiraling slide toward where we are today.

Because Another Unemployed Librarian makes no claims to economic expertise, today’s post recommends to readers two articles, one that illustrates and another that explains, Reagan’s economic legacy. The post finishes with two quotes from library sources reflecting what I believe to be the deeper intent of the destruction of public institutions and, conversely, the tremendous support the library still garners from the voting public.

Reagan’s Legacy – The Rich Get Richer

The economic policies of the Reagan administration brought us union-busting, corporate tax cutting, off-shore manufacturing, deregulating, and downsizing government services, all of which paved the way to situations like the one reported by the New York Times a mere two weeks ago on March 24th:
General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010. The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

Read the entire article “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether,” by David Kocieniewski from the New York Times, March 24, 2011.

Those librarians who were paying attention in the early 1980s, and who have kept their eyes open ever since then, have witnessed the erosion of the tax base from which our libraries derive their fiscal wellbeing. Some believed that entrepreneurship, business models, deprofessionalization, and fundraising were the solution to declining budgets. However, others saw these trends for what they, in fact, are – the dismantling of the public sphere as a strategy to increase corporate profits and power. 1

John Miller, economics professor at Wheaton College, in his 2004 Up Against the Wall Street Journal column from Dollars and Sense entitled “Ronald Reagan’s Legacy” provides the background to our current economic crisis,
Two days after his death, the Wall Street Journal ran a lengthy editorial tribute to Ronald Reagan, in the editors' estimation the most important president since FDR. In their paean to the fortieth president, Reagan gets credit for everything from winning the Cold War to renewing a sense of optimism at home. Oh, and he gets extra kudos for doing it all with that famously sunny disposition.

On economic policy, as the Journal tells the story, by tying the hands of meddlesome government bureaucrats and cutting taxes, Reaganomics ignited an episode of miraculous economic growth that restored prosperity to the U.S. economy. But like much of what Reagan had to say while he was president, what the Journal offers is just so much happy talk that masks a mean-spirited, economically unsound, and socially destructive policy agenda.

Over the past 30 years, this whittling away at public agencies and services by corporations and their politician allies has gone on unabated largely because the mass media have promoted the policies, parties and ideologies responsible for outsourcing, downsizing, et al. Miller describes as “mean-spirited” policies which Kathleen de la Pena McCook more pointedly identifies in her 2003 article regarding attacks on the public library:
Tools of repression include the denial of access to information and the denial of opportunities to meet and discuss issues. 2 [emphasis added]

The use of economic policy for political repression is nothing new. What is new is that it is now being used to destroy the middle class and the public institutions which have been the pride, and measure, of American democracy.

Fortunately, the public at large still values the library enough to have passed 85% of all library operation levies put up for a vote in this last year.
When people are defaulting on their mortgages but still vote to invest in their library, they're clearly recognizing this as a core service,” Losinski says. “If anyone is questioning libraries' viability, the rate of referenda passage has proven something. 3

The big question is – how can librarians build on this support to counter the Reaganite behemoths and their tea-partying friends?

1. See John E. Buschman's Dismantling the Public Sphere: situating and sustaining librarianship in the age of the new public philosophy. Westport CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2003.

2. Kathleen de la Pena McCook. "Suppressing the commons. " Reference & User Services Quarterly 43.1 (2003): 14. Platinum Periodicals, ProQuest. Web. 9 Apr. 2011.

3. Beth Dempsey. "Voters Step Up. " Library Journal 15 Mar. 2010: Platinum Periodicals, ProQuest. Web. 9 Apr. 2011.

IMAGE: from Dollars and Sense website