When budget cuts are deemed necessary, public libraries and library systems are at the top of the list. It’s hard to understand why, because libraries are an important resource for not only borrowing and research, but also for those who need help to find a job, update their resumes, or send an online job application—most companies now prefer electronic applications.

Considering how much I’ve heard in the media about Texas being just about the only state in the country to be financially sound, it’s hard to process the news that the South Texas Library System (STLS), which has a network of 55 public libraries is closing down on December 31.

Although the STLS was used primarily as an administrative resource and a reference backup, its role has typically expanded over the years to include professional development training and other resources.

Defunding the STLS and other regional systems will undermine public libraries and the services they provide. Services that are available to anyone at any income level are crucial to a community’s learning environment.

The STLS total budget for 2011 was $378,096 that included $80,000 a Technical Assistance Negotiated Grant used to provide technical support for the libraries. Nine other systems are being closed in August 2012.

To learn more about a situation, which is echoed across the country, click on The Brownsville Herald.


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