Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Author Spotlight - Toni Noel talks about today's libraries

Our libraries are in real trouble. A shortage of funding. Budget cuts. Shortened hours. Some doors permanently locked.

My granddaughter came to visit during spring break. She loves for me to read to her, and is crazy about children's videos, so after lunch one day I took her to the library to check out a few.

The doors were locked. I had to step over 6 teenage couples making out on the covered porch to reach the door and read the small sign displaying the library's hours.

Closed Mondays, and not open most mornings.

Our existing libraries represent a big investment of taxpayer's money, not just in books, but in videos, magazines and newspapers, computers with online capability for the cardholder's use, and all of it wasted when the doors remain closed. Our branch library is surrounded on three sides by senior citizen complexes whose residents spend most of their waking hours in the library. At least they did.

On hot days in Southern California elderly residents are urged to seek shelter in the library to stay cool. Most day that won't be possible this summer. Once their next in line on the librarian's signup sheet, the unemployed, and our city has many, can apply for jobs and send out resumes on line for the entire twenty minutes of their computer time. That means sending out 4 or 5 resumes if they type fast, but not if the doors are locked. These are jobless people without cars.

Is this happening in your neighborhood too? Are your schools, recreation centers and libraries feeling the brunt of the budget cuts? If the answer is yes, it's time you take a stand.

It's time for the younger generation to take a stand. City officials get tired of listening to senior citizens complain. I've had my turn. Thirty years ago I pestered the City Council until my (closed on Mondays branch library was finally built. I'm seventy-eight-years-old now and no longer able to take a stand, but young mothers whose toddlers enjoy the library's weekly story hour can and should. The parents of teens locked out of the library during spring break can, and should.

You can, and should.

Please leave a comment on this DBP sight to show someone else besides me cares about the future of our libraries.

And visit my blog for more on this subject:


  1. Toni--I understand your distress. We have a very big library, and so far the place is filled every day. They keep the new book shelf stocked, and anyone can go to the desk and request they buy a certain book. Then it's put on hold so that person can read it first. (I've done this countless times.)
    They have a huge children's section complete with weekly programs, and of course the popular summer reading program.
    It has a big computer lab, both for classes and for personal use.
    Then there are banks of computers with access to the internet.
    Groups have meetings, they offer yoga and seminars on topics in the big meeting room.
    I don't know how we ended up so lucky, for our city is not large. All county citizens may use it, so that brings in a lot.
    I don't see as many teens as I'd like--they're too busy with their iPads and cell phones that do everything--but I do see some come in an leave with a stack of books.
    It warms my heart.
    Good post, which makes us think...

  2. Your passion comes across loud and clear. I hope it energizes people to take action. I live in Japan where community libraries still thrive. I recall well visiting the local library when I grew up in NY and it saddens me to hear that times are so bad. Thanks for putting a spotlight on this situation.

    Gabriella Hewitt

  3. Hi, Gabriella, way over there. Thanks for the encouragement.


  4. I feel the pinch on the library, too, Toni. Our local library has been "closed for renovations" for about a year now. When I finally did some research on it, it turns out its some political quagmire between county & township. The article I read equated it to a divorce in the making. I guess that makes me and my family the "kids" in this divorce - we bear the brunt of unpleasantness. :-(

    Thanks for the great post.


  5. Hi, Jennifer,

    Thanks for the commenting on what is going on in your neighborhood.

    In an article in yesterday's Sunday paper the author said libraries are going the way of print books, and won't be needed anymore.

    Wrong. A second article reported on the way libraries are changing, providing videos, CD's and Nook's to meet the cardholder's changing needs.

    When the libraries were closed in Redding, CA for financial reasons in the 90's it took several votes of the residents over a period of at least 3 years to pass a ballot measure and reopened them again.

    I think the closing of library doors is a slap in the face of everyone, rich or poor.

    Keep those library door open.


  6. Toni,

    I'm very fortunate to have a lovely library in North East, PA, the small town I live in by Lake Erie. They invited me to speak before a group just prior to the release of Deadly Reflection. The county-wide library system has several wonderful branches and the main library in Erie is a wonderful building on the bayfront.
    I opened my talk with a quote from Michael Hyatt, the Chairman of the Board and former CEO of the Thomas Nelson Publishing Co. - a company established in Scotland in 1798. Mr. Hyatt said, "Print books will become like candles over time. The candle industry is still booming. People love them for the ambience and they make great gifts, but we don't use them to light our homes any more."
    By embracing technology and intermixing the ability to download e-books with regular books for check-out, our library is doing a great job merging old and new for the future.
    I can only hope and pray that with their patrons support the library concept will adjust, grow, and survive.
    Have a great day.