Support Our Public Library

As the City of Stillwater deals with budget issues, one of the things being considered is cutting the Stillwater Public Library‘s budget by 25 percent or $300,000.

Cuts of that magnitude would result in reductions across the board in library services, including a 28 percent cut in staff (10 workers), 27 percent cuts in spending on new materials, 24 percent cuts for building repairs, and an 84 percent cut in technology expenditures. The library would be open 14 percent fewer hours (60 hours per week) and offer 70 percent fewer programs than it offered last year.

In 1937 the people of Stillwater voted 3 to 1 to build a public library with the belief in the library as a core service. Support then and now was bipartisan with Democrats, Republicans and independents turning out at the polls then and at a series of budget meetings now to offer support for our library.

Without a library or even a diminished library, Stillwater would become a second rate community. Books, music and movies offered by the library are some few forms of free entertainment available during the current economic downturn. The library makes our citizens smarter by opening their eyes to worlds that don’t exist locally through contemporary and classic literature.

In our community, the library is where people go to get forms for a variety of needs, where the elderly seek help filling out our their tax returns, and where families can get the advice of a lawyer during the annual Ask-A-Lawyer event. With the recent closure of some private facilities, the meeting rooms at the Stillwater Public Library are the only reasonably priced meeting places still available to public and private groups. This wide variety of activities makes the library the hub of our community for so many people.

What can you do to show your support?

A series of budget meetings are being held now with the next budget having to approved by the City Council no later than June 23. You can let it be known by attending these meetings that the Library is a core service of the city, every bit as important as fire, police and utility services, and that the severity of these cuts will greatly impact the well being of our citizens. The next meeting is this Thursday:

Let’s Talk Stillwater: Budget 2011-2012
6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 28, 2011
Stillwater Public Library
1102 S. Duck
(405) 372-3633

You can also write the Mayor and city councilors to let them know that you support our public library:

In addition to this website, you can follow news on this issue at the Stillwater League of Women Voters website, at a special Twitter account (@SaveSPL) that has been tweeting each meeting on this topic, and on a special Facebook page called Save Stillwater Public Library. A special website has also been set up at savespl.wordpress.com where people who don’t have Twitter or Facebook can leave comments and find out more information.