The Miami Herald reports today that Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez will let stand the proposed increase in the library millage. Libraries, like pets, have their own constituency though admittedly with animal fervor.
SDM has no problem with funding libraries though the last time one of us attempted to access their services it was a miserable failure.
You see, one SDMer received a Kindle as a gift. She learned that she could go to the library, get herself a library card and then download Kindle books for free. Since she is a cheapskate, she figured getting free books would be just the ticket!
The cold truth hit her in the face immediately, however. After logging on to the county system, she learned that every book she was interested in reading was not available.
The alternative, of course, was to activate the Kindle’s online library and purchase the book for $9.99 in about 10 seconds. Ultimately, the cheapskate was beaten by the person seeking immediate gratification.
We understand that libraries are more than just dusty books. They are gathering places, quiet places to while away the hours and escape life for a short time.
But libraries in our modern world are something else today, too. The downtown Miami facility, for example, is a place to loiter and, for some, a place to towel one’s self off in the bathroom. (Yes, we have seen it with our own eyes in years past.)
So the question is not really whether we should support libraries, but what libraries will mean to us in the future. If most people will choose – as they do today – to download a book or movie from a paid service, then who will be the library user going forward?
SDM Says: As part of the increased library spending, the County Commission should direct the Mayor to report back on what the library system will become in the next ten to twenty years. Do we need more or fewer facilities and employees? More or fewer books? More online options? Now is a good time to figure out the future of our libraries and their role in our community going forward.