Outside the doors of a school library in Union City, California, a sign reads, "Due to budget cuts, this library is closed."
This is not an unusual sign. Across the U.S., school libraries are affected by a lack of funding. In what the Library Research Service calls "a disturbing trend," the state and national numbers of school librarians have steadily declined over the last six years.
Nancy Everhart, the 2010–2011 president of the American Association of School Librarians, believes action needs to be taken to prevent further cuts. According to the 2012 State of America's Libraries report, she says, "Not only do strong school library programs create an environment where independent reading is valued, promoted, and encouraged, but studies have repeatedly demonstrated that students in schools with strong school library programs learn more, get better grades, and score higher on standardized tests."
Public libraries are also deeply affected. In Detroit, four out of 23 public library branches closed last year, and 23 states reported cuts in state funding for public libraries from 2010–2011 to 2011–2012, according to the American Library Association.
As the library crisis becomes more dire, Marcia Warner of the Public Library Association, suggests that library directors "step up in the community and let their voices be heard" as well as seek private funding from library advocates.
I think we can all agree that libraries are invaluable resources for people who aren't interested, or able, to shell out $25 for a book. To get inspired to advocate for our libraries, check out 10 of the coolest libraries in the world.
Photo: Andreas Gohr/Creative Cooms via Flickr