APM Reports - Investigations and Documentaries from American Public Media

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Investigations and documentaries striving to raise awareness, trigger debate and prompt positive change.

More About APM Reports
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43c278 20161011 wetterlings

Update: A Sentencing, A Demand, No Closure

The sentencing of Danny Heinrich on Nov. 21, 2016, brought to a close the 27-year investigation into the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling. But it didn't end the story.

B487ba 20161109 dimock pad

EPA's late changes to fracking study downplayed risk of polluted drinking water

Early versions highlighted contaminated drinking water and vulnerabilities from fracking. The final version turned out differently: Fracking had not "led to widespread, systemic impacts." Oil and gas cheered the findings.

F8524c 20161107 historically black episode 8

Black Love Stories

This episode spotlights stories of enduring love among African American couples.

Caab92 20161031 historically black episode 7

The Path to Founding an HBCU

Born into slavery, William Hooper Councill founded one of the nation's first HBCUs, Alabama A&M University.

D1a7c0 20160912 duane hart

Duane Hart

He was convicted of sexually assaulting four boys around the time Jacob was abducted.

494446 20160903 wetterling home st joseph minn

Episode 9: The Truth

When Danny Heinrich confessed in court on Sept. 6 to abducting and murdering Jacob Wetterling and assaulting Jared Scheierl 27 years ago, investigators declared that at last, the public had the truth. But despite Heinrich's excruciatingly detailed accounts, the truth remains elusive. Many questions remain unanswered.

160c6e 20161024 historically black episode 6

The Question of Black Identity

Racial identity in the U.S. is complicated because race is an invented category rooted in slavery. This episode explores the question of black identity in America through the voices of four people who, at one time or another, have had to answer the question: "What are you?"

A3e749 20160930 in the dark episode 8

Episode 8: What's Going on Down There?

In November 2012, a police officer named Tom Decker was shot and killed in Cold Spring, Minn., after getting out of his car to check on a man who lived above a bar. The man was quickly arrested and held in the Stearns County jail. He was interrogated but then released without charges. The state crime bureau later ruled him out as a suspect. Investigators turned their focus to another man, Eric Thomes, who hanged himself before he could be charged with the crime. Nearly four years after the murder, Sheriff John Sanner has refused to close the case "because we're still hopeful that new information will come in," he said.

0e8b30 20160930 brian guimond

Brian Guimond

He is convinced the Stearns County Sheriff's Office hasn't looked hard enough for his son, who disappeared 14 years ago.

4e287e 20160930 ryan larson full

Ryan Larson

He was detained in connection with the 2012 shooting of a Cold Spring police officer, but later declared not a suspect.

0b8542 20161017 historically black 5

Harlem Through James Van Der Zee's Lens

James Van Der Zee was a celebrated African American photographer who documented black New York for much of the 20th century.

40ef78 20160930 rita reker

Rita Reker

The woman Patty Wetterling didn't want to see.


in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Fund and use public libraries

File under: libraries, education, financial literacy, early childhood literacy, health literacy, online access to services, government budgets, government

0 (0 votes)

From: Stephen L., Washington, DC

One of the greatest resources available to people is the public library. More people need to take full advantage of what libraries have to offer. People seeking to learn more about saving and investing, starting a small business, obtaining a job, or financing job training or higher education can find a wealth of resources at the public library. Plus, they can use the library to improve their diet and nutrition, and exercise habits.

Parents can use the resources of public libraries to acquaint their toddlers with books and the English language. As the children who have been read to grow older, parents can use libraries to make sure that their children continue to read outside of school assignments. Young adults who are strong readers and computer literate will have what it takes to succeed in a changing economy that places a premium on those skills.

When developing budgets, too few federal and state legislators recognize that, as more government and even non-profit services move online, the library is the point of access that links the less affluent (those who don't have Internet access at home or work) with those services.

Admittedly, much of what it will take to curb poverty will depend upon macroeconomic policies, including ones impacting trade, research and investment, and which promote stronger families. But public libraries are an important, undervalued institution. They are available to anyone who cares to take advantage of them. It appears likely that, after this fall's election, there could very well be many cuts in funding to federal and state government programs. Legislators and congressional representatives need to recognize just how important public libraries are as they develop their budgets next year in what appears to be an era of fiscal retrenchment.

As a former policy analyst at a conservative think tank, I certainly know that entitlements represent the biggest challenge to the federal government's fiscal problems. It's all too easy for legislators to avoid tackling the significant problem of exploding entitlement costs while cutting discretionary budget items -- including libraries -- just so they can claim they are getting tough with the budget. Yet, too often, money still gets spent on unnecessary services, while an essential service such as the public library gets the short end of the stick.

In Pennsylvania, legislators gave millions of dollars to a library to house the papers of retiring U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, a function that could be performed by the Library of Congress, while forcing cutbacks in public library budgets.

Here's what a www.pittsburghlive.com/x/dailycourier/news/s_691048.html ">story posted on pittsburghlive.com said about the budget cuts faced by the Mt. Pleasant Public Library in Pennsylvania:

"The current state budget cut library funding 9.1 percent," Mt. Pleasant Library director Jamie Falo said. "We were hoping that we wouldn't get hit hard again this year, since we took such a large cut last year at over 20 percent."

Who really needs the money? If we were really living in a society that offer opportunity to people (as ours claims to do), then public libraries would receive strong funding.

As a former public librarian, I know just how important the resources of a public library can be to people who are living on the margins of society, provided that they take full advantage of what it has to offer. I've seen countless people without jobs use the library to prepare their resumes and try to find jobs online. I've seen mothers who are homeless bring their young children to the public library to obtain books they could read to them. I've seen middle-aged people who are not affluent start to learn to use computers because they need such knowledge to survive in a tough employment market that increasingly demands job applications be submitted online.

But being able to take advantage of the public library requires that their value is recognized by elected officials.


Comments:

APM Reports - Investigations and Documentaries from American Public Media

What We Do

Investigations and documentaries striving to raise awareness, trigger debate and prompt positive change.

More About APM Reports
Be informed: Get notified when APM Reports publishes new stories.

Recent Stories


43c278 20161011 wetterlings

Update: A Sentencing, A Demand, No Closure

The sentencing of Danny Heinrich on Nov. 21, 2016, brought to a close the 27-year investigation into the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling. But it didn't end the story.

B487ba 20161109 dimock pad

EPA's late changes to fracking study downplayed risk of polluted drinking water

Early versions highlighted contaminated drinking water and vulnerabilities from fracking. The final version turned out differently: Fracking had not "led to widespread, systemic impacts." Oil and gas cheered the findings.

F8524c 20161107 historically black episode 8

Black Love Stories

This episode spotlights stories of enduring love among African American couples.

Caab92 20161031 historically black episode 7

The Path to Founding an HBCU

Born into slavery, William Hooper Councill founded one of the nation's first HBCUs, Alabama A&M University.

D1a7c0 20160912 duane hart

Duane Hart

He was convicted of sexually assaulting four boys around the time Jacob was abducted.

494446 20160903 wetterling home st joseph minn

Episode 9: The Truth

When Danny Heinrich confessed in court on Sept. 6 to abducting and murdering Jacob Wetterling and assaulting Jared Scheierl 27 years ago, investigators declared that at last, the public had the truth. But despite Heinrich's excruciatingly detailed accounts, the truth remains elusive. Many questions remain unanswered.

160c6e 20161024 historically black episode 6

The Question of Black Identity

Racial identity in the U.S. is complicated because race is an invented category rooted in slavery. This episode explores the question of black identity in America through the voices of four people who, at one time or another, have had to answer the question: "What are you?"

A3e749 20160930 in the dark episode 8

Episode 8: What's Going on Down There?

In November 2012, a police officer named Tom Decker was shot and killed in Cold Spring, Minn., after getting out of his car to check on a man who lived above a bar. The man was quickly arrested and held in the Stearns County jail. He was interrogated but then released without charges. The state crime bureau later ruled him out as a suspect. Investigators turned their focus to another man, Eric Thomes, who hanged himself before he could be charged with the crime. Nearly four years after the murder, Sheriff John Sanner has refused to close the case "because we're still hopeful that new information will come in," he said.

0e8b30 20160930 brian guimond

Brian Guimond

He is convinced the Stearns County Sheriff's Office hasn't looked hard enough for his son, who disappeared 14 years ago.

4e287e 20160930 ryan larson full

Ryan Larson

He was detained in connection with the 2012 shooting of a Cold Spring police officer, but later declared not a suspect.

0b8542 20161017 historically black 5

Harlem Through James Van Der Zee's Lens

James Van Der Zee was a celebrated African American photographer who documented black New York for much of the 20th century.

40ef78 20160930 rita reker

Rita Reker

The woman Patty Wetterling didn't want to see.