Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quote of the day: Ursula K. Le Guin on public libraries

From letters to the editor in last weekend's Sunday Oregonian (I know, I know -- but I absolutely have to have a newspaper of some kind to read with Sunday breakfast):
Thursday's article in The Oregonian ("Library seeks permanent 'yes' vote," Oct. 18) quotes the president of the libertarian Cascade Policy Institute, who says that libraries need "to have a conversation about who their clients are, how to do business, and about how to reduce costs by contracting out various functions." This language of profit-making misses the point.

A great library like ours is a huge operation, run by people with first-class management and business skills who know the people they serve and how to keep expenses to a minimum -- but it's not a business. It's a public service and a public trust. As a storehouse of information, knowledge and art, open to all, it serves the whole county community, and so it's rightly supported by the community.

The present ballot measure setting up a tax district is a long-overdue effort to take the onus of endlessly voting on levies off the citizens by giving the library a stable, adequate income.

A "no" vote will send us back to years of financial instability. A "yes" vote will keep the library doors open -- open to all, every day.

Northwest Portland
Of course, the very next letter following Le Guin's at the site begins with this sentence: “I'm against all ballot measures that will raise property taxes.” So some people just have a better handle on the idea of “commonwealth” than others.

Meanwhile, if you haven't yet voted (I have), and you're registered to vote in Multnomah County (I'm not), support Measure 26-143.

No comments: