30 posts in 30 days #4: Librarians on the radio

Last week I listened to an episode of The Diane Rhem Show titled “The Changing Role of Public Libraries” which featured Sari Feldman, executive director, Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library; president, Public Library Association, John Hill, president of the D.C. Public Libraries Board of Trustees; CEO of the Federal City Council and Camila Alire, president, American Library Association.

While the show was well done, and informative, by the end I kept thinking that there was something missing. The panelists talked about “branches” closing, and budgets being cut, and their library’s unionized workforce, I kept thinking that almost none of that applied to the vast majority of libraries here in Nebraska.

In Nebraska (and also in Iowa and maybe in other states) almost all public libraries are local institutions in single buildings without any branches at all. Forget unions, in many cases the library is lucky if the librarian has an MLS. There are annual book budgets out there that can be measured in the hundreds of dollars.

I’m all for national exposure of the problem, but how about some representation from the little libraries that have been struggling all along next time?

July 4th, 2010 by