Department of Irony: Tacoma

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.

Sigh.

Robin

3 Responses to Department of Irony: Tacoma

  1. There was this old joke in my part of the world:
    ‘What do you think about censorship in the Soviet Union’?
    ‘We do have an opinion but we completely disagree with it!’

    It appears though that state-level hypocrisy (so very visible in the wide gap between what’s being stated and what’s being actually done) is not specific only to our former political system.

    It is so absurd to promote reading and in the same time to close down public libraries…

    Christian

  2. News like this is frustrating to read, but it must be even more frustrating actually witness that.I hope Tacoma solves its problems.

    Matt

  3. (corrected)
    Hello Robin, I live north up in Seattle. We have an awesome newish building for our library, but it too faces the axe in many ways. The whole face of reading is changing, and I believe the unfortunate mindset of individuals is that since they hardly or never traipse into libraries, why not dispose of them from the tax rolls. Libraries were the source of redemption for me as a child. It would be cool if our society could somehow “reboot” their importance into our lives. But I am afraid the dawn of kindle and the like may be their undoing.