Reader's Exchange

Read 'em and weep

Call them "tearjerkers" or "weepers", but you know what I mean--books that make you cry.  Even if you don't admit to enjoying a good three-hankie read, you'll find one of your favorites on someone's shortlist.  Anything from A Child Called It to Gone with the Wind to All Quiet on the Western Front might be mentioned. 

Clearly, we don't agree on THE list.  Personal experiences vary, and those are the hooks on which literary anguish snags our attention.  Here's where we can all concur:  being able to choose the time and place to indulge in vicarious heartache is empowering.  Real-life milestones rarely feature this option. 

Right now, for example, library supporters are contemplating some tragic print.  Proposed cuts in the 2012-13 state budget eliminate funding for, among other projects, the statewide summer reading program for children, along with the K-12 databases at public libraries.  Grants from the Lone Star Libraries program would disappear;  Lone Star was the major funding source for the recently introduced Overdrive digital content at our library. Sad Oxford gargoyle

Just as public libraries serve increasing numbers of out-of-work patrons seeking to improve their employability and locate new positions, funding for most databases would also be cut.  As a colleague put it today, "In other words, the end of those offerings is just one budget away".

Saddest of all may be the ripple effects.  Loss of library services would hamper our ability to compete with other states as a residence of choice.  Should library standards be diminished, we risk reduction of federal library support if Texas institutions are no longer able to meet national funding criteria.  

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