Published on July 26th, 2013. Editorial in the DallasNews Opinion blog.
It’s a wonder that city leaders profess world-class ambitions even as funding for the library system is lower than a decade ago. A healthy library system is not a mere amenity. It’s a foundational piece of a city’s educational picture and a community nerve center.
Look around. Libraries are seven-day-a-week operations in the growing... suburbs.... In Dallas, the main downtown library remains limited to six days a week, down from seven, and its 40 hours of operation put us at the bottom for accessibility.
City leaders have got to correct this picture.
The office of City Manager Mary Suhm says that two priorities in next year’s budget will be restoring library hours and beefing up the budget to purchase materials. That’s headed in the right direction, but this newspaper hopes the City Council looks at the numbers with a sense of civic pride and a mission to build a better city.
In the Internet age, the public library is not just a musty book warehouse... They are essential places for people to better themselves.
City leaders were justifiably proud in recent years to snip the ribbons opening marquee projects such as the new convention center hotel, the designer Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and the freeway-topping Klyde Warren Park. Don’t forget the audacious fundraising for the $350 million AT&T Performing Arts Center.
These downtown glamour projects came online despite setbacks dealt by the sour economy.
There’s no reason a world-class library system can’t be managed, too.