I stumbled across a column in the November 14th issue of The Hooksett Banner by Amber Cushing, Director of the Allenstown Public Library. The column does not seem to have been posted to the newspaper’s website, so I’m going to post it in its entirety before giving y’all my thoughts-
As I alluded to in the last piece in my column, I’d like to address the argument that “I don’t use the library, so it doesn’t need funding.”
Again, statistics alone disprove this argument. At the Allenstown Public Library, 34 percent of the population has a library card, and circulation has increased every year for the past five years. But as with my last column, I’d like to explre the roots of this claim.
When someone claims, “No one uses the library anymore, so we don’t need a library,” they most likely mean “I don’t use the library anymore, so it has no value for anyone else.” This argument is akin to saying, “I don’t drive on Main Street, so it does not need to be paved.” Just because one person chooses not to use a town service does not mean the town service ceases to have value for someone else. A more accurate statement would be “I choose not to use some town services, so they have no value to me.” OK. Great. You’re entitled to your choice. However, when it comes to the library at least 34 percent of town residents do not agree with you. And that’s OK, too, because they are entitled to their choices.
We get ourselves into a sticky situation when we assume that everyone should make the same choices we make. The world doesn’t work that way. Things get even stickier when we assume that everyone has the same financial means we do. “I can afford to buy my own computer(s), books, DVDs, Internet access, etc., so no one else needs access to these things,” or “I don’t like to read, so no one else should be able to read,” don’t make for very effective arguments, either.
So when you think about your opinion regarding the necessity of the library, I challenge you to ask yourself: Am I trying to force my choices onto someone else? Why?
There are a lot of problems with Ms. Cushing’s arguments, but I’m just going to address the most glaring.
What Ms. Cushing is concerned about is a 25% cut to the town funding for the library. I have come across no one who is actually working to close down the Allenstown library, so people aren’t saying “[the library] has no value for anyone else,” “[main street] should not be paved,” “no one needs access to these things,” or “no one should be able to read.” Rather, they are saying, “people who find value in these things should fund them, rather then forcing me to do so.”
It’s not those who wish to withdraw their funding for the library who are “trying to force [their] choices onto someone else,” but rather those who insist on 2/3 of the town continuing to pay for services they neither use nor desire.
The Simple Solution
Ms. Cushing states that the library is a necessity because 34% of the town’s population makes use of its services. Allenstown, New Hampshire has a population of 4,843. Which means roughly 1,647 people make use of the town library.
If library services are a necessity for 1,700 Allenstown residents then simply move away from town funding all together and become a private membership organization.
If these people consider the ability to access computers, books, DVDs and internet access a necessity, then why are they unwilling to fund that access themselves? Ms. Cushing implies that they are unable to afford to do so. Well, let’s see about that.
The library’s 2013 budget was approximately $52,000. That means that each of the library’s patrons would need to pay a grand total of $31.57 per year to match what the library currently receives from the town budget. That’s less than $3 per month. That’s less than one month of home internet service, and less than the cost of three books or DVDs purchased new. It’s the cost of two meals eaten out.
If there truly are Allenstown residents who deem the library’s services a necessity and have purchased fewer than two meals outside their homes, and fewer than three books or DVDs in the last year because their budgets are just that tight, then I’d be more than happy to voluntarily donate to cover their annual library fee. I’m sure others would as well.Tags: Allenstown, Amber Cushing, funding, library, New Hampshire, private, taxes
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I just returned from a three-day trip that was originally supposed to be a one day trip. One result: my chinchillas were very hungry.
So, one of the first things I did upon returning home was to go feed them. As usual, upon opening the top door to their cage Mario ran for cover (hiding near the bottom) and Luigi, who had approached the door upon hearing me enter the room, instinctively froze so as not to attract predators. I gave Luigi a little pet, announced that dinner was served, and placed the food in the center of their “hidden” (read: safe) room and began to close the door.
As the door was swinging shut, Luigi started heading for the food and I realized I’d forgotten to check their water so reopened the door at which point Luigi stepped back away from the food and once again froze next to the opening.
How ridiculous is that? He was clearly hungry, and clearly not afraid of me, but despite the presence of food he went back into “don’t let the predators see you moving mode”.Tags: Chinchillas, pets, safety
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Isn’t this really one of the biggest questions that each and every one of us has encountered at some point? And, of course, it may not seem to have anything to do with anarchy, philosophy, government, business, or anything else covered on this website. But, on reflection, I thin kit may have to do with everything ever discussed on this site. But, most of all with parenting, which was, of course, the original inspiration for me to start blogging.
The attitude of not being a winner is the way people get into trouble in life. The fact you woke up this morning makes you a winner, and no one make you a loser but yourself.
Each day look at the wins you have. Value the greatness in your life, little and big. If you find it impossible to isolate any wins in your life, use affirmations and begin creating some.
You can start now to change your own reality. You are a loser, only when you think you are.
- Thomas Edison declared bankruptcy for the North American Phonograph Co. in 1894, and his Edison Portland Cement Company filed for bankruptcy twice.
- Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Milton hershey, H.J. Heinz, and P.T. Barnum all went bankrupt at least once as well.
- Before filing for bankruptcy, Walt Disney was fired by the Kansas City Star newspaper for lacking ideas.
- Colonel Sanders idea for Kentucky Fried Chicken was reportedly rejected more than 1000 times
The Complete Ask An Anarchist Series-
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Welcome back to Ask An Anarchist. The ongoing series where I respond to questions about anarchist philosophy.
Q) As an anarchist/voluntaryist/[other term for anti-government person] should I vote?
A) Short answer: you should do whatever feels right to you. As an anarchist myself, I’m not in the business of telling other people what they should or should not do.
The long answer is, as usual, a bit more complex…
Many anarchists have come to the conclusion that voting itself is either immoral or just plain evil. Many of these believe that voting is condoning the action of the state. Some claim that every vote is, in and of itself, an act of violence because you’re either voting for someone else to use the violence of the state to force their will on others, or directly enacting laws that will be enforced with the violence of the state. I have some questions for those who hold this belief….
2) Would you vote for your town/county/state to secede from the governmental bodies that currently reign over it?
3) Would you vote to dismantle the government in its entirety?
4) What about a vote to bring all US military personnel back to the United States?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then how can you justify that vote as not being evil or immoral? Aren’t you forcing your anti-prohibition and anti-government will on those who would prefer these laws and institutions remain in place?
If your answer to these questions is no, then how, exactly are you helping those in the liberty movement to bring freedom and liberty to everyone? Do you really think politicians are simply going to stop going to work one day? Do you think a time will come when the politicians are completely unable to find someone to enact violence on people that break their made up rules. Ultimately, it’s going to take a “vote of the people” to restore our liberties. The only other path to the end of government is violence, and that’s never succeeded in doing anything other than changing out one oppressor for another.
A flat out refusal to participate in any form of government election assures you’ll never see liberty in your lifetime. How can you even be a liberty activist? Isn’t protesting the police and/or politicians really just another way of voting? Except that you’re trying to convince other people to do the “dirty work” of changing the laws or system for you.
As for me, I believe in voting as self-defense, so only vote when I see an option for liberty. Sometimes that’s a candidate such as Ron Paul. Other times it’s an issue, such as California’s Proposition 19 which would have legalized the growing, using and possession of marijuana for people over the age of 21. Sure, this proposition had a lot of problems (including creating new bureaucracy), but I believe it was a step towards freedom. And those are the steps I’m interested in taking.
The Complete Ask An Anarchist Series-
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One of the great things about being a library book sale addict is that I get to handle about 1,000 books a week and I come across some really cool stuff. The latest example is Swimming Holes of California: Day Trips With a Splash by Pancho Doll. As a fan of both water and road trips, this book was a no-brainer purchase for me as it details more than 100 swimming holes throughout California. Pancho spent nine months traveling California in its entirety, driving more than 25,000 miles to get the skinny on the best (and worst) spots to cool off, relax and simply have fun. And he’s created a guidebook that’s not only useful and fun to read, but covers a subject/area of interest that has long been neglected, IMO.
Every swimmin’ hole is given three or four paragraphs of editorial content including detailed directions, GPS coordinates, and a copy of the USGS 7.5-minute topographic map of the area. But that is just the beginning. What makes this guidebook even more useful is his wonderful categorical icons. Each entry includes icons for: The Approach, The Season, The Company, and Overall Rating. Looking to go skinny dipping with your sweetie? Just flip through the region nearest you for the bare bottom icon. Want to take the kids to their first real swimmin’ hole? Find a black circle approach and a baby face icon.
Although eminently enjoyable to read, don’t take Pancho’s easy style and light-hearted descriptions to mean that he isn’t serious about his swimming holes. Here’s the last couple paragraphs of his Introduction to show just how serious he takes this age old tradition-
I’d even argue that swimming holes are the most complete trip to the mountains. Hiking alone isn’t. There is always space between the hiker and the trees, always a separation between us the ground we travel over. But water touches every part of the body with the perfect contact of immersion. People form attachments to these places. Several times I met parents and children at a swimming hole that the parents themselves had been coming to since childhood.
Beyond fun, there’s a metaphor here. Think of the stream as the work week, all noise and repeated motion. The swimming hole is the weekend, a place where the pace slackens, the issue gets broader and the water grow quiet enough to show a reflection.
So, whether you’re a swimming hole aficionado, a hiker, an adventurer, a lover of the outdoors, or just someone looking for something different to do this weekend, your first source of info should be Pancho Doll’s Swimming Holes of California: Day Trips With a Splash.
The Complete Cool Books Series-
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