Dear Councilmember Berliner:
Please vote to support libraries as you consider the upcoming budget. More than ever, Montgomery County residents need libraries that are open during the day, after work and on the weekends, that are easily accessible to work and home. Employed people afraid of job cuts and the recently unemployed use the library to research job opportunities and to brush up on their skills. Young children learn to read there, and older children use the library for research and as a safe and quiet place to study. Seniors use the library to continue their lifelong learning. For people of all ages, the library is a place to learn, and in these tough times, sometime to escape into a world of imagination. Without your help, all these people will have the lifeline of the library taken away.
The MCPL system has never recovered from the cuts of the 1990s in terms of staffing, facilities and the collection. Library funding is still a very small part of the overall budget, while the library offers outstanding value to the community. In the past year, cuts have mean that we already have fewer staff with increased usage, resulting in longer lines. Cuts in even more programs, and possibly in operating hours loom without your help.
I urge you not only to vote in favor of giving the library the funding it needs, but to encourage your fellow councilmembers to do the same.
A vote for the library is a vote for preschoolers, toddlers, students K-12, and their parents.
A vote for the library is a vote for new immigrants, the unemployed, the disabled, summer readers and seniors.
A vote for the library is a vote for reading, meeting and learning.
A vote for the library is a vote for all of us.
Chevy Chase, MD