Apr 23, 2001
At two April meetings, Baltimore City residents protested the planned closing of as many as ten of the library's current 26 branches.
All the branches proposed for closing are in working class areas of the city. These libraries are one of the few city institutions that offer a real benefit to working class and poor people. They are one of the few places where young people can find the culture which is available through books. Libraries offer special programs for children and have the computers available that many poor people cannot afford to buy.
In Baltimore City, which proclaims itself the "City Which Reads," almost 7 out of every 8 children read below grade level by the time they are eight years old. Obviously, the city administration is ready to let the proportion get even worse.
The libraries are already understaffed. The system has funds for only 100 employees to cover 26 branches. And they have already cut back on the hours the libraries are open.
City officials choose to fund plenty of other real estate projects –those around the Inner Harbor that benefit developers and large corporations. But the real estate investments that would help us some of the neighborhood libraries are always last in line first cut.
O'Malley pretends to be the mayor of Baltimore. In reality, he represents only one part: the rich. For their interests he is ready to sacrifice the quality of lives of Baltimore's working people.