A poll in the Merc asks readers to vote on which proposed budget cuts they would least like to see. The options include cutting back on the police and fire departments, closing community centers and pools, or cutting funding for Christmas in the Park. It also includes reducing the days that local libraries operate to just three per week.
The latter would be tragic. How many people realize that the San Jose Public Library system ranks Number 1 among the ten biggest cities in the United States—even higher than such famous systems as the New York Public Library? According to the stats, there are 14.55 usages per resident, almost 50 percent higher than the Number 2 contender Phoenix, with just 10.25 usages per resident.
Now the library is counting down to the 100 million mark—100 million books and magazines passing through the checkout counter since Aug. 1, 2003. This “Countdown to 100 million” includes all of the city’s libraries plus the Martin Luther King Jr. library at San Jose State University. And the books are flying off the shelves. A counter, showing progress toward the 100 million mark, can be seen at the MLK Library, though it will be turned off as the mark approaches, probably to stop prospective winners from jostling each other on the way to the checkout counter. After all, libraries are quiet places.
The person who checks out the 100 millionth book will receive the “Ultimate Reader’s Prize Pack,” described as a tote bag crammed full of things that every reader would enjoy. We can only hope that the 100 millionth book isn’t borrowed on the same day that City Council announces that it is cutting back library operating hours. That would be too much irony.
Read More at The Mercury News.