The readers’ forum

Restore Miami-Dade’s library budget to $64 million

 

The world has lost a literary giant and activist, but Maya Angelou left us many powerful lessons worth heeding. A victim of sexual abuse as a child, the young Maya consoled herself by reading every book in a local Arkansas school library. As an adult she always felt that if she could find her way to a library in any city, she would be OK. Because libraries had a special place in her heart, in 2010 Dr. Angelou donated her collection of personal papers — including drafts and notes from her most famous work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and personal correspondence with people such as Coretta Scott King, Gordon Parks, James Baldwin, and numerous prominent civil rights activists — to The New York Public Library.

She donated everything because she knew age was catching up to her and wanted these important pieces of her life preserved for future generations. There is even a library in Stockton, California that bears her name, but here in Miami-Dade libraries are apparently regarded with lesser esteem. In our community, county government has cut the library budget by more than 50 percent in the last four years, causing reduced operating hours, massive layoffs, a reduction in new titles, and fewer programs for children and the community at large.

Libraries are central to our free society because at the heart of our democracy is free and equal access to information for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, or economic status. Libraries represent an individual’s right to acquire knowledge, explore and achieve. Make no mistake — libraries are the great equalizer that we can ill afford to dismantle.

Libraries empower people; enhance our economy; support literacy and lifelong learning; strengthen families; build communities; protect our right to know; and preserve our cultural heritage.

One of the important lessons Dr. Angelou leaves behind is that our public libraries should be treasured, not torn asunder. Her voice is now silent, but ours is not. We must raise our voices to save our libraries.

Our best tribute to Maya Angelou is to insist that Miami-Dade County Commissioners restore our local library budget to $64 million to ensure full-time access to libraries in every community; restore and enhance programs for children and families, seniors, and the disabled; increase community outreach; and bring library collections up to date for all of us to enjoy.

John J. Quick, president, Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library, Coral Gables

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • Fare increase for disabled ‘un-American’

    Why should residents of Miami-Dade County with disabilities have to pay more to use public transportation? They don’t pay for the construction and maintenance of accessibility ramps in the front of buildings? That’s the government’s — the community’s — responsibility, as agreed to under the landmark legislation passed 25 years ago known as the American’s With Disabilities Act or ADA, enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • The readers’ forum

    Partners in stopping human trafficking

    The Aug. 18 article Council aims to fight human trafficking describes how Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will lead the new Statewide Council on Human Trafficking in tackling the issue prevalent in Florida. The new Council goes hand-in-hand with the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services’ efforts to get critical services closer to human trafficking victims.

  • Zoo Miami’s angels

    It’s Sunday morning and I settle in to read the Herald. I pick up the Tropical Life section and am drawn to the lead article, Zoo Miami’s angels, by Ron Magill, the zoo’s communications director. Magill is a treasure to South Florida because of his super work and devotion to one of the finest zoos in the country.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category