Today I was given what could be the most frightening information I could ever get hold of in the respect of our independence as individual Americans. The Pennsylvania state budget proposal ( S.B.) 850 has planned to heavily cut state funding to the Greatest device we have as a Free Nation, our libraries. As this Nation’s recession digs deeper and everyone of us feel the pain, our lawmaking body tries to find ways to slash costs. Those governing the budget have now set their sights on education as an easy way to eliminate expenses. We all understand that concessions need implemented. We all understand everyone must bear this weight to make it through to better days. Nevertheless, what S.B. 850 is proposing could bring 90% of the States libraries to their knees. Most of these libraries are small town hubs holding our collective knowledge on their shelves and in their care. Most work with very little allowance as it is. Now they could be as good as gone if what is proposed passes without resistance.
Ever since our Country started down this road to recession, our government has coddled the few to pacify their vociferous notions of sure doom. We hand them Billions upon Billions of dollars to keep life going the same. It has not worked and now we are left with reducing our Nation to ignorance one Grand State at a time. Taking from the People, yet again, to please those most likely responsible for this disaster. We have to draw a line HERE, to stop this offense against our foundation of free knowledge. We have to stand up for our rights as a State, as a People and say no to the death of the common peoples institute for learning !
“We learn by doing” Our Free Library system allows us to learn without censorship, and to do what is necessary to prosper. In this ever-perplexing world, information is the monarch of all. Facts change, new exploration becomes known and fresh ideas surface. Knowledge moves faster today then any other time in history, and without our libraries, we will be left behind. All forward movement in this State could end. The people will lose unrestricted excess to information, which can and will lead to oppression of thought. Our children will suffer with only a generalized education, again governed by the state. They will surely sink ever more into the mud of inequality, with out a free library system.
Not only will this affect our education, it will affect service’s for unemployment benefits, it will drastically reduce federal funding to the tone of 3.8 million dollars, needed funds to keep our libraries operating at the minimum costs they work at now.
This is the moments you as A Pennsylvanian you as Americans you as a Human beings must stand and defy the power that keeps stripping us of our freedoms. This can only be a true democracy if each and every voice is heard. Without the public library, our voices will be oppressed and this is the slide into tyranny.
I beg of you to call EVERY State Senator and Representative over the Memorial Day break, Explain to him or her you will not allow our foundation of free thought to collapse without a fight. If you do not stand and be counted the doors for hundreds of free libraries will close, and a better future will disappear along with it.
Here are the proposed reductions in S.B.850 (Senate Republican Proposal for FY2009-10)
Public library subsidy $75,750,000 reduced to $ 37,000,000 a cut of 51.2 %
Library access (POWER statewide interlibrary deliver) $ 3,792,000 reduced to $0 a cut of 100%
Office of Commonwealth libraries(includes State operations)$ 4,846,000 reduced to $2,396,000 a cut of 50.6%
Library services for impaired & Disabled $2,976,000 reduced to $2,926,000 a cut of 1.7%
Electronic Library Catalog (ASK Here Pa. Access Pa database)$3,792,000 reduced to $ 1,771,000 a cut of 53.3%
A total cut of $44,093,000 plus Federal of $3,8000,000
Charles Wills Redman Jr.