I wasn’t planning on doing a blog post on SOPA/PIPA Awareness Day, even though the passage of these two ill-conceived anti-piracy bills could impact my work as a writer and ebook publisher.
As circumstances would have it, my car stalled out four times in stop-and-go traffic on the 85 and I left work early to put it in the shop yesterday. This comes after blowing out the front right tire that took the wiring harness for the front lights halfway between Stockton and Sacramento on the I-5 last week. After my father fixed the tire and rewired the front lights with a replacement wiring harness from the junkyard, I returned his truck and got my car back this past Sunday. I was hoping that my car problems would be behind me. Since this was my father’s old car, it wasn’t that simple.
As I was walking home from the shop, I noticed the chain-linked fence still surrounding the brand new library on Bascom Avenue that haven’t open since being built two years ago.
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For the first time in decades, I now lived within walking distance of a library. Unfortunately, with the Great Recession impacting tax revenues and the out of control pension costs, the City of San Jose doesn’t have the budget to operate the new libraries that weren’t replacing an older library. (Money for building and renovating the libraries came from a $212 million bond measure approved by the voters in 2000.) The existing libraries are open for three or four days a week, and more cutbacks are forthcoming. A council member recently proposed replacing retiring librarians with volunteers to save more money.
As we protest the bills that could censor the Internet, let’s not forget the brick-and-mortar libraries that need our support. They could easily disappear with the budget cuts, which has already happened in some communities across the nation. A free society depends on the free flow of information, whether in physical or virtual form.