When money is tight, libraries go begging.

The Tyson Library in Ludlow, Vt., is required to support itself independently; public libraries in Vermont receive no state funding.
The Tyson Library in Ludlow, Vt., is required to support itself independently; public libraries in Vermont receive no state funding.

In the continuing NPR series, Keys To The Whole World: American Public Libraries, Neda Ulaby reported on the dire financial circumstances many libraries find themselves in. In Vermont, for instance, which touts itself as the state with the most libraries per capita, some are teeny, one-room operations, open only in summer for a couple of hours a day, and are completely volunteer-run (reminding me of how the Mightly Twig here in Evanston operated for a few years until the CAMS branch opened). “No paid librarians,” one volunteer in Ludlow, VT points out. “We function on donations, book sales, bake sales ….” Ulaby continues her report with examples of how libraries in various states get funded. The range is broad: some are funded through city or state budgets, some rely on legacies and donations only, some have a mix of sources. Almost all are suffering in today’s economy.

Barbara L.

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