Tough news for Tacoma over the last few days. To trim the state budget, we’ll be closing our Washington State History Museum in downtown Tacoma. Never mind that it was a draw for some of our downtown merchants and a local employer. It has to go.
Also on the chopping block? Two of the Tacoma Public libraries will be shut down in order to operate with the funds allocated for our Library budget. Never mind that every dollar spent on a book or movie or other resource for our library was multiplied over and over as they items passed through the hands of many patrons. Never mind that library usage is up since this economic downturn began. We have to close two libraries.
Then, driving home tonight, I saw a huge billboard on Union Ave. Very large and attractive graphic, with the headline EXPLORE NEW WORLDS. READ. In smaller print, it noted it was paid for by www.read.gov. Now I know that’s a federal program and it does many, many worthy things. But for the cost of creating that billboard, commisioning the graphic and design, printing it out, renting the space and putting it up . . . how many libraries could have been kept open? So people would have a place to explore new worlds and read.