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Sunday, January 02, 2005

Confusion over the role of government?

Okay, my libertarian streak does not run so deep that public libraries should be 100% privatized. I think public libraries provide sufficient public good that they deserve to be subsidized a bit - at least they should take priority over other non-sensical things that local governments insist on funding, say stadiums and such.

In Salinas, California, voters rejected a half penny sales tax increase with the repurcussion now being that the city's libraries will be closing. The city will be the largest city in the country without a public library (at least Arlington doesn't hold that title).

What's the big deal? Salinas, California, was the home town of John Steinbeck - Nobel winner and author of Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, Winter of our Discontent, Of Mice and Men, and a bunch of others.
So how would Steinbeck have reacted to the news that the cash-strapped city is closing its libraries in the spring?

"He'd obviously be upset. He knew that literature can lift and elevate the spirit and enable humans to rise above any situation," Ms. Gamble said. Facing record deficits, the City Council voted Dec. 14 to shut all three of Salinas' libraries, including the branches named after Steinbeck and labor leader Cesar Chavez. The blue-collar town of 150,000 could become the most populous U.S. city without a public library.
Nice touch...
Story Here

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