Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Old College Try

Recent Florida Times-Union editorials about the Jacksonville Public Library have noted that Jacksonville could and should become a college town, shifting our mindset to a city that embraces lifelong learning as a way of supporting literacy, quality of life, and business opportunities.

In our Check It Out: Independent Library Funding inquiry, conversations with directors from libraries throughout Florida and the nation have taught us that through the economic downturn, other library systems have experienced budget constraints similar to those found here, but some—particularly college towns—have been able to garner the public support needed secure dedicated funding. When learning is at the core of its identity, the city has a symbiotic love-love relationship with its library, supporting it through funding and being supported by it.

This week we will learn about state and local laws to determine if seeking dedicated funding is feasible in Jacksonville, but the real question may be whether the community wants to invest in its educational resource: is Jacksonville ready to give dedicated funding for its libraries the old college try?