There was an interesting story in The New York Times this past week on the challenges libraries and librarians face during a recession. The bulk of the story talked about how library staffers face increased stress associated with higher usage from resume-writers, kids and homeless folks.
In Arlington Heights, Ill., “officials said the library was experiencing double-digit increases in the circulation of DVDs, CDs and books on tape. The library’s many children’s programs and cultural arts events are also filled to capacity, reflecting a growing demand, linked to the economy, for free entertainment.” I’m sure our local libraries here in the Hudson Valley are experiencing similar stresses and capacity issues. These are tough times we’re in, and people need to be entertained as much as they need to research jobs and write resumes.
Unfortunately, many “free things” are threatened by the recession and the winding down of revenue needed to support parks, recreation and associated programming. The good news is that there are many free things still around. For example, the Catskills Preserve is vast, offering miles and miles of trails and vistas. Sunset at any one of the Catkills peaks are not only free, but priceless.
Locally, maybe people can step up and volunteer their time to help out. Wouldn’t it be great for volunteers to help clean our city parks? Or run some programs? Does the Kingston Library have a volunteer staff? I’m sure they could use the help. Or maybe a local soup kitchen?
— Arthur Zaczkiewicz