The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Library closings:
Robbing the young to pay the “developers”

Jul 30, 2001

The Baltimore library system announced in mid-July which five neighborhood libraries will be permanently closed. All are in working class or poor neighborhoods –Dundalk, Fells Point, Gardenville, Hollins-Payson and Pimlico.

The announcement comes at the very moment 30,000 children are in summer school for not having met adquate standards in their just-completed school year.

When the proposed closings were first announced in March, there was a public outcry. At community protest meetings, parents stressed the importance of neighborhood branches that kids could walk to.

It’s obvious why. They’re safer places for kids to congregate. There they can read more and so improve their skills. And it’s one of the few places many kids get a chance to play computer games and gain skills.

Mayor O’Malley waited until the protest had died down, then gave the green light to the closings.

In Baltimore, whose politicians style it, “the city that reads,” tens of thousands of children can’t. Yet politicians claiming to serve the “people” cannot find money for libraries – only for real estate speculation.