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. Continue reading »