Closing libraries is not only cruel and inhumane to Mohave County residents, but also a threat to our treasured democracy. The ability to read is critical to the success of a vibrant and thriving democracy, and libraries supply the books and opportunity to broaden reading.
Thomas Jefferson opined “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be ... Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government ... Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe ... He who knows best, knows how little he knows.”
In conclusion, a student observed 20 or 30 years ago: Q: “Why are we violent but not illiterate? A: “Because we are taught to read.” Student: Colman McCarthy.
Need anymore be said about the importance of literacy and the essential role that libraries play in that drama?
For shame, to suggest that Mohave County libraries be closed for fiscal reasons. The cost to society is incalculable. Just one piece of data ought to convince the most fiscally responsible. Eighty-five percent of prison inmates are functionally illiterate. The cost per year of an American prisoner is estimated to be $52,000 per year.
Ponder: How much was closure of libraries in Mohave County estimated to save?
Just do the math.
Note: thankfully, the Kingman library provides a meeting room for tutoring for the Kingman Area Literacy program (KALP). Rather than budget cuts to libraries, a budget increase to libraries is strongly recommended and preferable.
I can’t underscore enough the critical importance of literacy and continued funding for Mohave libraries.