Jeffco May Lose a Library

Nothing is set in stone yet, of course, but here we have yet another example of government services being slashed as a result of the financial downturn and a penchant for fiscal conservatism.

From Emile Hallez Williams at the Columbine Courier:

The Jefferson County Public Library system is mulling the closure of at least one of its branches next year, as it seeks to meet $1.6 million in projected budget cuts.

The library board, which presented a general list of cuts to the board of county commissioners Thursday, did not specify which branches would most likely be closed. About $985,000 would be saved through at least one closure, the library said, in addition to separate cuts of $195,000 to operating expenses and $440,000 in efficiency measures.

A final budget will likely not be passed until December

Cutting “bloated government budgets” is all the rage across the state and country right now, in part as a response to financial hardship across the globe. Still, in an era dominated by right-wing talking points focused on “drowning government in a bathtub,” the loss of government revenue as budgets are slashed also mean a loss of government services.

While less government spending sounds great, voters hate it when their local library disappears. Libraries, after all, are hubs for families and communities. They’ve existed in neighborhoods for ages and few people ever think of libraries when they talk about “wasteful government spending.”

If and when a library does close, we imagine there are going to be quite a few Jefferson County residents (and voters) up in arms. Unfortunately, the conservative talking point which thrives in Jefferson County doesn’t mention that the same government which “wastes hard earned tax dollars” also takes care of services that everybody loves.

The long and short of it is that nobody in Jeffco is going to want to see their local library close, but hundreds of thousands also want government to shrink. It’s a “take away from everybody else, but don’t you dare take away from me” mentality that’s endemic of today’s perception of taxation and government on the whole.  

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