The Salem Public Library sucks. Sure, I could come up with synonyms for "sucks," which I did in the title of this blog post: bad, horrible, disappointing. But sucks conveys the anger and sorrow library lovers should feel about a recent decision by the City of Salem to cut library hours a lot.
Retired state librarian Jim Scheppke has been sharing Facebook posts that provide solid facts to back up the inescapable conclusion that while the Salem Public Library sucked in comparison to other public libraries in Oregon before those cuts, the Suck Factor is now much worse.
Below are screenshots from the Salem City Council Forum on Facebook of the posts by Scheppke (who is an administrator of the forum). I believe I found them all, but one or more might have escaped me.
This is disturbing reading.
I grew up in a very small town that still managed to have a decent library. Well, several actually, since before an official library came to be, informal libraries existed in the homes of a couple of women who were avid readers. My mother adored books. Going to the library was a big part of my childhood.
When I see the City of Salem slashing library hours long before budget cuts have to be made following the rejection by Salem voters of a poorly conceived employee payroll tax aimed at increasing city revenue, the cynical side of me thinks, "City officials are gutting the library now in order to have a talking point for another revenue-raising proposal."
Okay, maybe I'm wrong. But when you read the Facebook posts by Scheppke, it's difficult to understand why city officials are making the already below average Salem Public Library even worse off, given that other cuts to City of Salem services haven't been made with such intensity.