Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The localest of my local libraries, the Henderson branches, which already were closed on Sundays, are now closed Mondays as well, due to budget constraints.  This makes me feel sort of like Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend, when he needs money for booze but he can't hock his typewriter because it's a Jewish holiday and all the pawnshops are closed and you see him dragging himself desperate, slowly, up Second Avenue in the gray light of dawn.  There's a measure on the ballot this year to support Henderson's libraries, offset by a tiny increase in property taxes ($7/year.)  I voted for it, but unfortunately there's another measure on the ballot to support schools, which asks for a much larger property tax increase, and I'm afraid people will just vote no on both.  My voter's guide, which came in the mail, included a "for" and "against" on the library issue, followed by a rebuttal and a rebuttal to the rebuttal.  The rebuttal to the rebuttal, I have to say, was a little ranty and broke out a couple of times into capital letters, including the phrase WHERE WILL IT END?  (Books, they want money for!  Books!)
I think anyone voting on this issue should first go to the Paseo Verde library on a Saturday morning.  The conference rooms are booked up, the computers are occupied, there are kids everywhere, teens in the teen section.  It's a place for study but it's also a public space.
I am ashamed, as a writer, that I take for granted my use of the library.  Of course they have the book.  Of course they'll get the book.  Of course I can get anything I want, right at my fingertips, never thinking where it comes from, never thinking who pays for it.
So I'll say it now:  my greatest thanks, to the Henderson and Las Vegas-Clark County libraries, and by extension to the voters and taxpayers who fund them.  We're all in this together.

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