Local Libraries Thrive in Face of Budget Cuts
In spite of economic hardships and potential budget cuts, local libraries are thriving with business.
As conditions seem to worsen with the economy, more and more people are turning to their libraries for support- from Internet access to job searching to free entertainment.
Though the advent of technology may seem a threat to libraries, their mission to provide information to the public has been reshaped and reinvented to evolve with the times.
Since 2000, library circulation in Minneapolis alone has increased by a staggering 37 percent. Economic downfalls have only strengthened this growth.
The projected $6 billion to $7 billion state budget deficit, however, is threatening to leave libraries with huge cuts in funding.
Library supporters argue that the local hubs are becoming more and more important for residents who can't afford to maintain Internet connections, purchase literature, or rent movies from expensive chain stores.
Eagen resident Heidi Ohlander, 31, is a strong advocate for local libraries. She told the Star Tribune that the library helped her plan her own wedding, start a small business, and begin her first novel, among other things.
"I just want you to know that the library is not only essential to me but to all my fellow Minnesotans,'' Ohlander recently wrote to her legislators. "Libraries are the place Minnesotans turn to during tough times."