Friday, July 22, 2011

troy michigan is threatening to close its library unless residents pony up for a tax increase. here are my comments from boingboing.
Every Michigan city right now is facing budget constraints.
One ploy I have seen repeatedly when citizens start to object to being overtaxed, is that the authorities will threaten to close the library.
I am a fan of libraries. I grew up reading Asimov and every other science fiction writer on two shelves of SF in my town's library when i was 13-14. I read "I, Asimov" last week after dumpster diving it; mostly I just read stuff online these days.
Tax dollars are fungible. If taxes are raised "for the library" that frees up other tax dollars for, for example, putting black teenagers in jail for having pot, or paving contracts so that contractors can kick back campaign donations, or sinecures for the well-connected, and so forth. What boing-boing could do instead of blindly supporting a tax increase is to open-source a close look at the troy budget,and see if there is other stuff that could be cut to fund the library, at at least some miminal level. I have worked as a librarian. 90% of what the patrons want is for the building to be open and the front desk staffed. But 90% of the staff budget goes to people with MLS's in the back rooms doing whatever it is they do. Half of that could be cut back until the local economy picks back up, without harming the basic function of the library - a big building with lots of books.

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