Nicole Reads A Lot

so many books, so little time

Please help keep me in yarn and books*

I know that this isn’t about me at all, but I feel that a little selfishness is allowed, as I will be directly affected if Governor Christie’s proposed budget is passed. As it stands, this budget would cut 74% of New Jersey library funding. By any accounting, that is an insane amount of money, even though the $10 million in library programs cut from the Governor’s budget represents little more than $1 per person in state funds.

What you can do:

* Those are my vices, although I will admit that they’re not nearly as exciting as hookers and blow.

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Pretty awesome news for libraries

There’s a lot to be afraid of these days in the world of libraries, and cuts are happening all over. That’s why I was happy to some good library-related new for a change.

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Yay for Philadelphia!

As a followup to my previous post about the possible closing of the Free Library of Philadelphia, I am pleased to pass along that the library will remain open! The Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill that will allow the library to remain open, and keep 3,000 city employees from being laid off. I love it when people come together to do good like this!

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Say it ain’t so, Philly

I really like Philadelphia. Despite its obnoxious baseball team (who the Mets beat today in dramatic fashion [finally]), it has a lot of good things to recommend it. It’s walkable, pretty, and since the murder rate is so high (but now falling!), it’s nice that the cabs are plentiful and relatively cheap. Plus, I have good friends who live nearby, which clearly adds to the awesomeness that is Philly. At one point, I’d even considered moving there and getting a job at one of the city’s library branches. Which is why the news that the entire city/regional Free Library of Philadelphia system will close on October 2, unless the state legislature approves funding, is both so shocking and frightening.¬† I’ve heard of branches closing or hours being cut back, but I’ve never heard about such a large library system considering closing down altogether. This is both nuts and scary. In this time of increased economic hardship, libraries are playing a vital role in their communities.

Should this happen, I wish the best of luck to all who lose their jobs because of this, and the worst of it to the politicians responsible.

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I never tire of asking what is wrong with people, and as usual, the dawning of a new day just brings me new people to despise and pity. The culprits this time? Some stupid yahoos in West Bend, Wisconsin, who think that censorship, law suits, and book-burning (literally) are perfectly cromulent responses to books in the Young Adult section that they find inappropriate. No rational person is going to argue that every book in a library is appropriate for every person who who may walk into that library. And I’m all for parents having a say over what media their children consume (until those kids are over 18 or paying their own way in life). But instead of these people just telling their own children not to read certain books, which would be well within their rights as parents, they want to label and move books and prevent other people’s children from having access to them, too.

Instead of being ashamed of themselves for being so fearful and hiding their intolerance from the world, such people wear it proudly like a badge and want to get more people to join their crusade. Ginny Maziarka is one of the spokespeople for the efforts to censor the library’s materials and amend its policies for labeling young adult material. She seems to be the leader of those in West Bend who are trying to prevent other people’s children from reading things that their own parents may not find objectionable, and runs the West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries web site.


This is what I don’t get about so many issues that people object to; if you don’t like it, don’t do it/watch it/listen to it/eat it, etc. Why should I have to live according to what you believe? And who gets to say what is appropriate anyway? I mean, I find those Purity Ball things highly suspect, but I would never force grown men to stop encouraging their daughters to wear prom dresses, don pseudo-wedding bands, and pledge their virginity to their fathers. Because that’s not creepy at all.

Thankfully, Ms. Maziarka does not speak for the entire town, and there is a reasonable response to that site, in the form of Sleepless in West Bend. The library is for everybody (even weirdos)! There are a lot of things in the library that I kind of give people the side-eye for even wanting to look at, but that doesn’t lessen my support for those items to stay in the library. I’m not sure how I missed out on hearing about this sooner, since Gawker covered it over a month ago.

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