Feminist kite flying fangirl, stargazing animation enthusiast...holding my arms out for hydrogen
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this is a passionate opinion… its a long read, but as a chicagoan and long supporter of equality and education, both in the classroom and out… i felt the need to type up a few hundred words on this topic…
if i were a ghost, i would haunt a library. i would stream in and out of volume after volume, absorbing page after page. a library is a place of knowledge, discovery, and peace. a library is a place to do more than cram for a big test, or gather hard copy titles for your research bibliography. its a community. a community of sharing. its one of the few places we can go and have equal access to inspiration…
we may be technologically advancing by leaps and bounds, but that does not mean that everyone has access to that technology. i know if i was a young girl in this decade, my family would not have access to a kindle or laptop. actually, i know many people who visit the library a few times a week or more in this decade because of that very fact. i do not need to remind people of struggling economies and the effect it has on families.
i am saddened to know mayor emanuel would like to change the way our libraries work. i once admired rahm because of a reply letter he sent to me regarding his continued support of title IX. he was passionate about supporting the rights of equal opportunities in education, and wrote that he would stand firm in his commitment to title IX.
years later, and now our elected major, rahm is doing more than confusing many in our city. he wants to build a better chicago by making changes that could weaken city workers who support the communities. i will not pretend to understand every in and out of politics, but generally speaking, i am having a hard time following these contractions in leadership.
for example, mayor emanuel is guiding efforts to make a chicago public school day longer. if you were to speak to the school teachers affected, many do not feel the raise in pay (2%) supports the longer hours, large classroom attendance, and dwindling administration budgets. again, i can’t cut all the fact from the fat, but those up in arms about these changes are more than disappointed by these new developments. my understanding is that rahm is doing this for chicago’s future… our children. its true our public schools are lacking, but its not the amount of time they spend in the classroom. i could write a few dozen entries describing my opinion on where education efforts in schools fail… but i have already gone off track from the original public library topic…
for chicago’s kids, to give them a better chance, big changes are being made to our public schools. with chicago’s future being the topic, why does shortening the hours of operation for chicago’s public libraries and cutting librarians make sense? we are trying to give our communities more opportunity. if we are trying to give our kids a competitive balance, why does taking away resources makes sense? this is where my confusion lies… this is the contradiction.
on my days off from work, i am with my children in our local public library branch about 3 times a week. there are no after school programs to support homework efforts, and in all honesty, i want them to have a place to study without all the distractions of the internet. when i am there, i see many children doing their homework, waiting for their parents to pick them up after work. its not only a place for them to study, for some families, its a safe haven.
they not only use the computers, but they read, listen to music, draw, and interact. its sad that some families use the library as a sort of “baby sitter”, but when families are pressed, its better than some of the alternatives.
my oldest satellite spends many of his afternoons at the chicago harold washington library after school. he spends hours in their youmedia center. its a brilliant place for chicago area youth to explore various media. he chooses to be there, he doesn’t need to wait there because of my work hours. its an inviting positive social environment. i want him to be there and not roaming the streets of this unpredictable city. there he feels mentored and safe.
i don’t need to tell many of you how important it is to keep our libraries open for our children. but its important to keep those dedicated to providing these services in their positions as well. like our educators, librarians are important to our communities…
mayor emanuel, keep the library lights on, and keep our librarians… for chicago’s future… for the kids. those of you who haven’t been to a library lately, get off the internet and browse the catalogs of these institutions more often than not. you wont be sorry. its good for the soul :)
there is a facebook page petition, please check it out and support the efforts if you feel the same