FOR THE PEOPLE: Fighting for Public Libraries by Whitney North & Elizabeth Layne Seymour

FOR THE PEOPLE: Fighting for Public Libraries

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Jacob Javits, Lee De Forest, Satchel Paige, John Jakes, and retiree Elsie Levy love 'em. Little kids contribute nickels and dimes in their behalf. Big business, the newspapers, and self-helpers rely on them. They reach out to the handicapped and the poor. Indeed, 88% of the respondents in a 1975 poll put public libraries at the top of their want list of cultural facilities--so, implicitly, why are all those tax dollars going instead to concert halls and museums? In anticipation of the September 1979 White House Conference on Libraries and Information Science, this is a compendium of all the good things about public libraries that interested citizens and ignorant legislators should know, neatly balancing the library's traditional role as a community resource with its special services to target groups. The book's inarguable contention is that public libraries should be funded on the basis of population (not circulation) and regularly, by right; a federal-state partnership is suggested, with supplementary federal allocations to meet special needs. None of this will be news to librarians, of course, and almost none of it rises above of the level of a PR handout (the co-authors head a national citizens appeal). But if other worthy causes can have their TV talkathons, the pinched public library is entitled to its day in print.

Pub Date: May 18th, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday