The recent temporary closure of the Phoenix Burton Barr library due to storm damage underscores just how vital libraries are to their communities.
No longer just places to check out books, libraries offer families free, educational activities for young children. They serve as cooling stations for Phoenicians with no shelter from the brutal summer heat.
Countless community organizations rely on libraries for meeting spaces that enable them to do good work. For thousands of low-income job seekers, libraries are a crucial point of access to high-speed internet.
Through programs that emphasize art and culture, Phoenix libraries have a long tradition of expanding their patrons’ horizons.
Our library helps small and micro-business owners through hive, a program hosted by the Burton Barr Central Library to give Phoenix entrepreneurs access to business resources and meeting spaces.
Despite the role libraries play in millions of people’s lives, the library district has been forced to operate without adequate funding, relying on volunteers to make up for critical staffing shortages.
And when the city was forced to make a difficult decision on how to repay public service pension debt and still keep vital city services, Councilman Sal DiCiccio voted against the agreement that kept libraries open.
The lack of consistent city support for the library district is seen whenever a local branch is forced to cut down the hours it is open, leaving thousands of people without access to programs on which they rely. Phoenix library patrons have faced that terrible scenario in the past and without the support of city leaders like Kevin Patterson, it can happen again.
As a city councilmember, I won’t treat libraries as a luxury item but instead look for ways to invest in them alongside other crucial city services. By finding creative solutions that look beyond just the dollars and cents of the city budget, I hope to bring Phoenicians access to one of our city’s greatest resources.
Burton Barr storm damage article: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/2017/07/20/burton-barr-central-library-flood-damage-downtown-phoenix/494599001/
Cooling station map (with libraries galore): https://www.phoenix.gov/piosite/Documents/Map.pdf
Voting against the agreement that kept libraries open:
Past library budget cuts causing closure: