Friday, November 12, 2010
Stuff That Should Not Happen
Something happened that made me think there are some things that just should not happen.
Last night I was innocently standing in the kitchen surrounded by what is left of my loved ones, (my husband and three dogs), when all of a sudden I felt this sharp pain in my leg. I looked down and saw a puncture wound and blood. I realized I had stumbled into a drama between my beloved little toy poodle and our collie, as they battled over a bit of potato salad in a plastic container I had set down on the floor. The poodle had chosen to sink his chompers into my leg in an effort to wrest the container from the clutches of the collie. I know it was the poodle because the plastic carton was missing and the only evidence of the poodle was the tuft of his tail sticking out from under the dining room chair as he savored that last bit of potato salad.
My leg hurt, but what hurt most was the realization that my little doggy son, who every evening sat contentedly on my lap, licked me when I was sad and acted happy to see me when I came home, was in fact not my little doggy son, but a dog, plain and simple, who would always choose the plastic carton with the remnants of potato salad in it (and bite me for it, if necessary), no matter how much love I lavished upon him.
That just shouldn’t happen.
So I started to think about other stuff that should not happen like…
School buses should not be allowed to operate between the hours of 7am and 8:30am, when I am on my way to work. Is it me, or do the moms really have to stand outside the stopped bus and chat with the driver after their little darling is already in his seat? I know the little tykes need to get to school, but we adults have enough stress to deal with besides sitting behind a stopped school bus when we are late, and trying to get to a meeting with our boss. Why can’t these kids walk to school? I had to.
Also something else that should not happen is Bristol Palin winning “Dancing with the Stars.” Granted she has improved, and I have even been rooting for her a bit (she seems like a nice girl), but enough already. She is no Brandy or Jennifer Gray. If whatever force that is currently at work keeping her on the show is able to win it for her, that shouldn’t happen.
And what about about deep fat fried butter? Should that happen?
As for libraries...in tough times, when libraries are needed more than ever, they should not have to cut hours and close branches.
We at Sno-isle are fortunate to be a part of a library district where we can ask the voters to fund the library. And fortunately, they have. But many library systems are not so lucky.
Seattle Public Library, a world class library by any definition, is part of the City of Seattle, so must ask the City for funding. Unfortunately, the library is one of many departments asking for money, and there doesn't seem to be enough to go around. So hours have been cut, staff must take furloughs (that means no pay) and the collection suffers.
The Salinas Public Library in California, home of the archives of native son, John Steinbeck, closed for a time due to lack of funding, giving Salinas, a town of over 100,000 people, the dubious honor of being the largest city west of the Mississippi with no library service.
These are not isolated incidents.
Public libraries all over the country – Denver, Camden, Queens, Phoenix, Minneapolis - have all suffered branch closures and curtailment of services and hours due to federal and state budget decisions.
This not only shouldn’t happen, it is a blow to democracy.
Equal access to information is a basic right in a democratic society. Use of public libraries is free and not limited by race, religion, income, age, disability or education. Everyone is welcome.
The library is a lifeline for many.
Not everyone can afford to buy books, subscribe to newspapers and magazines, to get DVDs from Netflix or go to the theater to see quality programs. Not everyone has a computer and Internet access. And every child does not have a quiet place to study.
In tough economic times, people look to the library for these services and a place to work, study or gather as a community. Families can attend free quality programs. Newcomers come to the library for help with English and help seeking citizenship. People who can’t read look to the library for literacy help. Those who don’t know how to use computers take free classes at the library.
Public libraries level the playing field and help people pursue the American Dream.
For all the good that libraries do…for what they represent in our democracy…
When it comes time for the powers that be to hand out the money, libraries should be at the top of the list.
That is what should happen.
What shouldn’t happen…a mother left in an empty nest with a toy poodle who would sell her out for leftover potato salad.