By Stefani Muñoz
I associate libraries with the money I save from borrowing rather than purchasing a book. But sometimes we take this service for granted. Just think about it for a second: free education to anyone who’s willing to utilize it.
In 2017, President Donald Trump proposed a budget cut for The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMIS) that would effectively suspend federal funding for libraries across America. As it stands today, the current budget proposal continues to support this suspension of funding.
Though statistics have shown that over the years library usage has fluctuated, numbers from a Pew study in 2016 revealed that 53% of Americans aged 16 or older had some interaction with a public library in the past year, whether it be a physical visit or use of the library’s website. Libraries still play a role in the lives of most Americans. Even individuals who do not visit the library still find themselves benefitting from them in some way.
One of the many reasons why libraries are so important is because of their involvement with the community. Libraries have an opportunity to put together support groups and events because of the funding they receive. Libraries also offer many other free services such as internet access, assistance in finding career opportunities, assistance in finding health insurance, offers classes on an abundance of topics and many more. It was also found by a recent IMIS study that libraries make a community healthier by providing space for people to meet, converse, and learn from each other. But without funding from the government, libraries can no longer offer these services nor can they provide people who are trained to offer this type of aid. And so it is important that we as people begin to advocate for more funding for libraries and make others aware of the importance of such public organizations.