Governor Pawlenty, like it or not, has just done what he feels is best for the state of Minnesota. There is no doubt that something needed to be done; we cannot continue to live beyond our budget. But it's painful and it's scary. Our libraries will no doubt be affected, as will other agencies that exist to serve the public. The problem is that we are already busier than ever and needed more than ever. People who have lost their jobs are coming in to the libraries to look for work and to file for unemployment. They are looking for classes or assistance to update their work skills in order to better prepare themselves for the workforce. They need resources on writing resumes; they need computers to produce these documents, and many need someone to show them how to use that computer.
Tighter personal budgets necessitate looking for free entertainment. We are the best bargain in town, offering all the free reading materials, movies, and Internet use one could want. We also offer many educational and leisure events in our buildings. Attendance at these events, as well as general traffic in our libraries has skyrocketed. We do our best to keep up with this increasing demand for our services. Now we face the possibility of cuts to our operating budget. I know that we will do our best to keep up with our service to the public, but to do so with budget cuts will be extremely difficult. It's a good problem to have when you are needed, but it is still a problem.
Milaca Public Library