Saturday, April 21, 2012

Don't forget to vote!

Don't forget to vote today, by the way. If we don't vote to continue our rate of property taxing, all our branch libraries could be shut down.

And when times are tight, we have to make tough decisions about spending.  What costs are worthy investments, and what are needless expenses?  How about libraries?  Could we do without them?  What would happen if we did?  Or, if we chose to invest in them more heavily, would that be a smart investment, paying off with interest over time? is a non-profit organization devoted to externalizing conversations about how the quality of life in our city might be improved.  One of the things we talk about in our meetings, or on our radio show, or on our blog, is about how much the beautiful system Shreve Memorial libraries adds to our quality of life in Shreveport.

Here are some of the things people have mentioned:

Trusted, secure, public space:  in a time when downtowns are less often filled with a mixture of residents and workers, and suburban living and shopping have spread us out from city centers, there are fewer places these days where one can be surrounded by fellow citizens who are not shopping.  Libraries are places where we can share resources and enjoy a pleasant solitude amongst others, an unusual and civilizing thing; many of us feel that libraries teach us civility.

Improving Literacy and School Readiness:  library reading programs, reading resources, reading role models, reading environments!

Building Workforce Participation:  providing employment information and developing technology skills

Small Business Support: support services and online resources for an increasingly competitive small business environment; one where one often has to compete globally and locally at the same time

Community Organizing: e.g., ABS!  meeting spaces at a neutral, community supported site.  (book stores aren't the same; neither is Centenary, private college. Without public facilities the public isn’t empowered to connect, organize and develop.

Sense of place: a nice library can anchor a neighborhood and that a part of town sense of location.  Other shops and facilities often spring up around it and are stabilized by the flow of people that the library helps to establish.

All that said, vote however you like, but do vote!


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