“… Fort Wayne City Councilman Jason Arp has proposed cutting the budget of the Allen County Public Library to the point that it will no longer be able to sustain itself,” reports Dick Eastman in his post “A Fort Wayne, Indiana, City Councilman Proposes Eliminating the Annual Budget for the Allen County Public Library” published today in his blog Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.
Library Director Greta Southard says “Recently, an article circulated that posed an interesting argument: Amazon should and could replace libraries, thus saving taxpayers money. The article managed to generate quite a bit of conversation, especially among library professionals. However, I have to wonder whether its author has visited a public library recently. If not, he should, because he would find that public libraries can’t be so easily replaced.” Source: “Community resource: Tax investment in libraries brings payoff beyond proportion” published 10 Aug 2018 in the local newspaper The Journal Gazette. Later in the article she states
This is more than a dollars-and-cents situation. It is ultimately a question of the type of community we believe ourselves to be, and what we want to become. I tip my hat to the late Walter Cronkite, who said: “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.”
During Mondays with Myrt we discussed this proposal and the consensus is that libraries are the center of a community, essential for learning and growth. Baby story time, after school programs, block parties, Lego Club, 3D printing lessons, Hanna-Creighton Writers Guild, PAWS to Read, Community Radio 95.7 Producers Meeting, Family Fun Night, Toddler Storytime are just a few of the items on the library system’s event calendar located here.
The Allen County Public Library in particular has the distinction of being one of the top five genealogical libraries in the United States, housing the most complete collection of genealogical and historical journals, quarterlies and newsletters, bar none.
It is our belief that Councilman Jason Arp’s proposed budget cut does not take into account the financial impact the loss of this library will have to the hotels, restaurants and other public venues in the area.
- The Federation of Genealogical Societies – “FGS returns to the Hoosier State in [22-25 Aug] 2018 providing attendees convenient access to Allen County Public Library which houses one of the largest genealogical research collections available with records from around the world.” Source: (https://fgs.org/conferences : viewed 13 Aug 2018)
- Midwest African American Genealogy Institute just held its annual conference in Ft. Wayne and used the facilities at the Allen County Public LIbrary.
- Literally tens of thousands of genealogists visit the library for research, staying a few days to a week.
People with Allen County Public Library budget concerns may write the City Council Administrator at:
Citizens Square 200 E. Berry St., Ste. 120
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802