Courtesy of Creative Commons
In the current world of eBooks and the Internet, the thought of a public library seems dated and like a waste of tax dollars. If you’re paying taxes to have a building hold antiquated books and even more obsolete software, this is definitely true.
But this is simply not the case.
Libraries across America have reading materials, audio visual materials, meeting areas and community programs, all free of cost to members of the community.
A report done by The American Library Association found that 90 percent of libraries nationwide offer eBooks and 98 percent offer Wi-Fi. Furthermore, 95 percent of libraries offer online homework assistance and 56 percent even offer online language learning. Not only are libraries providing computer access, they are providing enriching programs to accompany it.
Libraries also add value to communities. They add value and opportunity to towns, especially during times of economic recession. The use of the computers are essential during these times, especially for those who do not have access to them at home. Finding a house and a job can all be done at the library as well.
The New Jersey Library Association reported that New Jersey is ranked 34 in the nation for state aid to libraries. Law mandates that libraries get 33 cents of every 1,000 dollars in property tax, which is assessed property value.
Libraries in New Jersey don’t receive enough tax dollars, and the decline in this funding only leads to less use of them. Yet libraries are a fundamental part of communities and are the quintessence of American ideals: community, knowledge and culture.