Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Neighborhood Library as Refuge

Link to April 28 NUVO ("Indy's alternative voice") article, "Closings loom for libraries".

Excerpt:  The Rev. Greg Coates, senior pastor of the First Free Methodist Church, on the Near East Side of Indianapolis, knows first-hand the city's public libraries aren't just important in struggling neighborhoods like his – they're crucial.

When news surfaced earlier this month that the Spades Park Branch Library faced the threat of closure just a few blocks from his church, he knew its effects could prove devastating for those who had come to depend on it.

"I had a teenager come up to me not too long ago, almost with tears in her eyes," he said. "And she just said, 'Pastor, I don't know what I'll do if they close our library. I can't tell you the number of times that my father has come home drunk, and threatened to beat my sister and me, and the only safe place we could go in our neighborhood was the library.'"

 If closing one branch is bad, closing six is six times worse. But that's exactly what the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library (IMCPL) proposed to do earlier this month to close looming budget gaps. If implemented, the proposal would shutter Spades Park, Brightwood, Flanner House, Fountain Square, Glendale and West Indianapolis branches.

Though the decision isn't final (library officials expect to vote in June), the public outcry has been mounting – particularly as the city seems poised to cough up $15 million to maintain Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers.

Related articles:
Indianapolis Star editorial board keeps library funding issue front and center.  (4/25/2010)
Efficiency experts look for ways to keep branch libraries open.  (4/23/2010)
More than 1400 sign petition to keep Glendale branch open.  (4/20/2010)
Editorial:  Find resources for library.  (4/19/2010)
What's in store for Indianapolis-area libraries?  (4/17/2010)
Indiana Pacers bailout talks continue.  (4/16/2010)
Postscript.  (4/15/2010)
Look what's at the top of Indianapolis's to-do list.  (4/14/2010)
A Challenge to Indianapolis-Marion County:  Stand Up for Libraries.  (4/13/2010)
Library rally caps?  Get real, sez IndyStar editorial.  (4/12/2010)
Will Indianapolis rally for its libraries?  (4/12/2010)
Library considers branch closings.  (4/9/2010)

1 comment:

Greg said...

This is Greg Coates (the pastor in the story). Thanks for posting this. I hope our message gets spread!