Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Say Goodbye to the Library

This last Friday was closing day for libraries in Jackson Country, Oregon. I've blogged about this before; basically, the economic and political situation in Oregon, especially southern Oregon, is so dire that when Federal timber subsidies ended, there was no money for such luxuries.

My mother volunteers at the the Ashland Public Library, and was working there on the last day. There were a lot of tears, and patrons brought in flowers for the staff. Most amazing, however, was a group of kids who organized a peaceful sit-in. The local paper filmed the proceedings, which features Sgt. Williams, the most amazing police officer you will ever meet. The whole thing is heart-rending.

Ashland is a wealthy town, by Oregon standards, and is populated largely by refugees from San Francisco, like my parents, who would cheerfully tax themselves for such things. I'm sure the town will be able to work something out, possibly turn the library into a municipal function, albeit one without the larger support crucial for libraries. But the real tragedy is all of the other libraries in Jackson Country, many of which are scattered across extremely rural and impoverished areas. Those libraries are not going to be able to re-open any time soon, and southern Oregon will lose just a bit more of itself.

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