Column for April 14, 2005
We do not need libraries. Much like sidewalks and drive-in movies they may be a thing of the past.
Before the Friends of the Library, the American Association of University Woman, the League of Women Voters of Oakland County, Parent Teachers Associations, assorted seniors and people who believe they could not live with libraries get into a hissy, let me say this of course is only my opinion. Like everything in this column it is not the opinion of the paper, its editors or probably many of our readers. The opinions are mine.
More money. Just like the post office, the schools, the garbage men, the library wants more money. A 1.6 mileage will appear on the May 3 election ballot. Same old story. I already pay $3000 taxes per year. That is not enough, now for the next 20 years they want me to pay an extra $125 to go for library expenses and improvements. I have the nagging feeling that sometime over that next 20 years they will say that is not enough and want more.
And what improved services? Better hours, more books, computers, CDs, DVD collections, employee fringe benefits. Just say NO. Do we need the government to rent computers, CDs and DVDs? I say NO. Let coffee shops, bookstores, Blockbuster's the private sector take care of those needs. Do we need libraries? I say NO. We love them. We have fond memoires of them. They improve and enrich our life's but they don't save life's and the money can be better spent elsewhere.
People who think they need libraries will get their reading material somewhere else in the future. Bookstores, computers, the private sector will and should provide reading havens. Not to mention the overlap of junior high, high school and collage libraries.
Sadly I don't believe the majority of the tax payers have ever been inside the local libraries. Many of them may not even know where the buildings are. Because like drive-in movies there is a difference between fond memories and need.
I almost feel the need to apologies for my tuff anti-big government anti-tax believes. This coming from an old rich rock star. My cars are paid for. I own my house free and clear. My problems are not making money but hanging on to what I have. Taxes just can't be a blank check. Libraries, fish aquariums, symphonies, movie theaters, ice rinks even schools need to be self sufficient. Use volunteers, benefactors, gifts, annuities, investments to provide an income.
Many years ago Michigan passed the Headlee Amendment. Hang on to this it said government is already getting a big enough percentage of our money and property tax should be tied to cost of living increases not more money and bigger percentages.