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Libraries are the great equalizers: They provide books, technology, computers, and educational materials to everyone regardless of income, education, skin color, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Millionaires and the penniless alike can go into a library and their backgrounds dissolve as they greet a librarian, seeking research references or computer time to job search.
But it’s the penniless, especially during a pandemic when unemployment is rampant, that are in most need of the library. From using a library computer and free digital resources to search for employment to getting free research materials and books for a homeschool class, it’s our community’s neediest who may suffer from less library funding.
The penniless and poor coexist with millionaires here in Branford, and the Blackstone Library has and will serve as a support to those who can’t afford an Internet bill due to job loss or have to sell a laptop to buy groceries. Job searches require technology, and given that the library can be a great resource for those down on their luck, it is puzzling to me why the Republican led RTM voted along party lines to approve a budget that included a denial of the Blackstone Library’s request for increased funding for the 2020-’21 fiscal year. During a time when many in our community may be faced with unemployment and may need to rely on the library’s resources for help, it’s hard to understand why the Republicans wouldn’t support an increase to the library’s budget.
This is a time when the library’s resources, much like many other free and low cost services in town, will be taxed. For the long term health of our community, it’s unfortunate that the Republican RTM members made this short-sighted decision.
The 2020 guide to the Madison Chamber of Commerce has arrived!