Turns Out Dallasites Love Their Libraries. If Only City Hall Didn't Hate Them.

Categories: Schutze

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There's a briefing for council today on whether or not our public library system sucks. Looks like the verdict will be that it does not totally suck, but it should, because we do.

The briefing is based on a nationwide bench-marking system Dallas participates in with most other second-tier cities in the country, along with some third-tiers and some downright damn suburbs. The survey shows that we care about our libraries, visit them and use them at above average rates.

Our visitation per capita, for example, is ahead of Phoenix, San Antonio and Miami-Dade but behind Austin and ... no, c'mon. Arlington? They gotta mean Arlington, Virginia. I'll have to watch. Maybe some sharp councilperson will raise that question. If Arlington, Texas goes to the library more than Dallas, Texas, then just shoot us.

We like our libraries a lot. Almost 94 percent of us told somebody with a clipboard that we think the libraries here are good to excellent, beating out Austin and Phoenix. The only place that beats us, really, is ... no, c'mon... Arlington? We've gotta get some clarity on this.

Why we say we like our libraries so much is sort of a mystery if you look look at how much support we're willing to give them. We're way in last place. Way.

The operations and maintenance budget for Dallas libraries is $25.24 per year per registered borrower, behind Phoenix, San Antonio, Austin, Miami-Dade and certain other meager municipalities not to be mentioned here again today. Miami-Dade spends more than twice what we do.

One never knows what kind of impression a report like this is going to make on our merry council members. We have to assume at least a couple of them will ask for a break on some fines owed by a worthy loved one. I can think of one member who will want to ask where the library is, but maybe by now she knows better than to ask when the cameras are rolling.

And then you have the fiscal hawks who will say, "See! Our people here in Dallas are easily pleased! Let's slash the library budget some more."

We can only hope a couple of them will see the real message: people in Dallas really do care about and use the library system, so y'all need to quit bleeding it to the bone.

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32 comments
tcufrog
tcufrog

Schutz...

 

You need to stop knocking places you know nothing about.  

 

I grew up in Dallas and Richardson and very reluctantly moved to Arlington several years ago.  After living here for a few years my husband and I had a chance to move our family back to Dallas.  We thought long and hard about it and one of the key reasons we stayed in Arlington was the city's excellent library system which is much better than Dallas's and Richardson's for that matter.  Arlington not only has an excellent library staff and collection but continues to pour money into their system.  The city is even currently trying to decide whether to renovate and expand the main library or build a new one while at the same time Dallas is bleeding their library system dry.  As a librarian that speaks to the commitment the City of Arlington has to it's citizens.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Let Dallas make choices, just like everyone else.  If Dallas prefers funding libraries to backroom deals between corrupt policritters who get a kickbacks from, say, prospective liquor store operators or operate ethnic spoils systems...let Dallas elect councilcritters who support libraries and eschew throwing tax dollars at cronies.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

No one sympathizes with the homeless more than I do.  But, the library downtown seems to have become a refuge, complete with a vague urine odor.  Don't the denizens of City Hall, which is right next door, ever pop in to the library for a look see?  Maybe they'd understand the need for not only more housing for the homeless, but they might also understand how city residents lose out by not having a pleasant library to go to.

jesdynf
jesdynf

I'm on the Arlington Library Advisory Board, so, uhm...

 

... you mad, bro?

heyheymama
heyheymama

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read this post's title.  City Hall does hate the library system and finally someone (thank you, Jim) has the balls to publicly say so.  Is it Mary Suhm or the Dallas Citizens Council or both?  Who knows.

 

City Hall and my councilwoman play a game I like to call "The Emporer has no Clothes", wherein they say how important the library is and how they are restoring funding / earnestly looking for a new director / not going to layoff staff / keeping Central open, etc.  Reality: (a) they've been playing a shell game with bond money to buy materials and now have to add a $1mil to materials to avoid losing accreditation (b) see past Observer articles about pathetic director search; interim director has no library experience  (c) de facto layoffs occurred when staff quit or retired before they could be laid off, in order to secure another job or retirement benefits (d) Central has to bring in branch staffers on Sunday, just to be able to keep it open.

 

The bloodletting of the last 6+ years tells me that the City doesn't want to operate libraries.  I can't help thinking they'd love to privatize them, a la the zoo.

 

 

s.aten
s.aten

My Dallas branch library is always busy. There is a grade school next door and the school and the library share funding to keep our library open longer.  There are long lines most of the time to check out books or use computers.  It is a low income neighborhood so many families don't have computers at home.  There are literacy classes, ESL classe and sometimes GED classes.   More people would use the branch if the hours were longer and there were more staff to help find the information they need.

 

If you want an educated citizenry that can get a job, fund the libraries.   If you want uneducated citizens who can't find a job, cut library spending.    A dollar spent on libraries goes a long way.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

I have to admit, I think libraries are great, so my opinion on this subject is biased.  One can argue for library science and the adult education classes and all the other tangible, measurable good that the library provides, many here are doing just that.

I can also admit that I'm a bit of a social retard, not good with people.  The library gave me a refuge where I could go and hide in rows of books, dragging items of interest off to nooks to browse for a while.  It was my escape from the hustle of the workweek and drug deals, prostitution, cops and gunfire in my Far North Dallas Apartments.  After a while, I was going to the movie screenings, the book readings, and the other community events in the library.  I got to know some of the people of my neighborhood, not just the thugs who loitered around my apartments.  I expanded my circle of friends and acquaintances.  I got invited to BBQ's, pulled into pickup football and baseball games at the park right by Timberglen library. Kites were made and flown, frisbees were tossed, and somehow, in the middle of all that, I became a part of a community.  A community I would have had a difficult time joining if not for the library.  I had friends of all races, from every corner of the globe.  Our differences served to strengthen our ties.  I helped people with English, they laughed at my Spanish.  I was told, for the second time in my life, that I speak Arabic like a toddler with a freakish command of military vocabulary.  I found, over time, that I hadn't just joined a community, I had joined the human race.  And that is the only race that matters.

Try to do all that on the Internet.

schutzecensorsfacts
schutzecensorsfacts

This is rich coming from the guy who censors scientific facts about race when they disprove your naive faith-based white-guilt libtard religion.

TMB55
TMB55

Sorry Jimbo, but you're showing your age here. There's this thing called the internet, kind of makes Libraries obsolete. Keep one downtown, kill the rest. Use the budget money saved and the proceeds from the real estate sales to work on getting unique documents scanned to databases and to provide under privileged kids with cheap laptops. Libraries days are numbered...

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@tcufrog Jim Shit hates Arlington because he is a totsl racist and Arlintgton is so diverse. Arlington is nowhere near as hip and groovy as the rich white enclave on Swiss Avenue bordering a Hispanic shit zone where he lives. So you see, Jim is so much better and cooler than you, and he is also way more hip and cool and "open-minded" than you are, because you live in Arlington and he lives on Swiss Avenue.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@RTGolden1 Well said; that is a great story. Thank you.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @schutzecensorsfacts There's no scientific basis for race.  So, that makes your "science" tantamount to phrenology.  It says more about you than Schutze or this blog.  But, you're not interested in science, but expressing your bigotry.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 Yeah, right, Pal. I started out using computers to communicate before the invention of laptops. I seriously doubt you're ahead of me on any of the technology. But like most end-point consumers, you can't tell the difference between medium and content. The ability to surf through huge amounts of information is absolutely hollow until you know how to weight the information you're looking at. The people who used to be called library scientists are the information specialists of today, and the closest most of us will ever get to them is at our local library. All of this shit that people think is so damned wahoo-looky-there how-cool, from Google to Facebook, is just a commercial re-packaging of library science. @TMB55

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @TMB55 many well off kids go there as well.  The wealthy didn't get there by buying everything they could, they use libraries for subjects of passing interest, like kids books.

CraigT42
CraigT42

 @TMB55 How fantastically ignorant.  Libraries are so much more than a warehouse for paper. Providing computer literacy classes, community services and being the only place to see and touch a computer for many.   But even if that weren't true you still could not replace a library with the internet yet. Much of what you can find at the library is not yet digital.  Mush of what is digital is not free. 

jerikjonsson
jerikjonsson

 @TMB55 I used to think this also, but some library advocates convinced me that the libraries are serving as the primary adult literacy solution in Dallas, and that's a service we certainly do need.

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

He's also way more super "progressive" than you are too, because he lives on rich white Swiss Avenue in groovy hipster artsy fartsy lower than lower Greenville, and you live in boring suburban not-hip diverse Arlington, so he hates you.

jesdynf
jesdynf

 @scottindallas  Arlington, TX. But I don't know if the survey in question refers to us or Nega-Arlington (Arlington'? "The Arlington where they all were goatees"?) either.

schutzecensorsfacts
schutzecensorsfacts

@scottindallas that is really convenient for you to claim, since I get censored every time I post a series of peer-reviewed scientific articles about blacks & testosterone levels, and testosterone levels and violent behavior.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

 @JimSX  @TMB55 Google is not comparable to library science.  Google listings are based on some weird algorithm that is basically a popularity system.  Libraries have this thing called an index system which actually allows you to find what you are looking for.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@CraigT42 @TMB55 I once wanted to read a very arcane, very expensive book. I went to my local library branch, which didn't own it. So they borrowed it from UNT and loaned it to me. The book and its contents are not on the Internet. Thank you Dallas Public Library.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@schutzecensorsfacts The facts are indisputable. Our personal genetic codes will contain a diverse set of genes from the world over. Nearly every "white" person has genes originating in Africa and Native American tribes. Race is a terribly inaccurate shirt hand label usually based on skin color and culture. If you look at DNA, typical racial distinctions based on skin color and physical features are insignificant genetic differences compared to our genetic similarities. Get your DNA checked. You might be surprised at what your "race" is.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @schutzecensorsfacts  @scottindallas But, what you fail to see is the very categories your "studies" rely on are based on arbitrary constructs.  There's no bright line where Blackness begins, and Whiteness or Asianess begins.  We're most all mongrels, and the few that aren't are inbred and have genetic defects.  You should read about the Super Hybrid, the Hybrids are genetically superior to Whites or any purer "race"

tcufrog
tcufrog

 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  @JimSX  @TMB55 As someone who has an MLS from UNT and has made a career out of teaching research skills to college students I totally agree with you.  Google is a very useful tool but not everything is available via Google searches especially since more and more information is being placed behind pay walls plus the sum total of human knowledge is not on the Internet.

 

People also forget that Internet websites have no editorial control unlike a classic resource like a traditional encyclopedia for example and much of what is on the Internet is biased or published by people, organizations or companies with hidden agendas.  Unless you know what to look for you can be led astray very quickly.

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