The Spark

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

Washington, D.C. Libraries:
No Money for New Books

Feb 20, 2012

Public library users in Washington, D.C. are finding a problem: fewer books. The number of volumes went down each year since 2007. The libraries have eliminated almost half their books.

Blame the internet? No, electronic books to download from the library website are only 2% of total circulation.

Rather, library operating funds were slashed. The budget for new books was cut 35% last year alone All neighborhood libraries have been closed on Sundays since 2009. Other hours have been reduced. Staff have been cut accordingly.

Meanwhile city politicians gave their friends in the construction industry 180 million dollars to rebuild or restore libraries. But that spending went to spruce up “gentrified” neighborhoods where expensive new condominiums continue to be built.

The end result: large, expensive libraries sit empty for hours.