Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | August 22, 2009

Book lover’s Plea

Front view - Postcard

Front view - Postcard

Whenever I visit Auckland Central Library, normally, I check the counter always for bookmarks, newsletters, announcements etc.

The other day when I visited the Auckland Central Library, I picked up a free postcard from the counter. The postage on the card has already been paid by the LIANZA and it is addressed to the Parliamentarians in New Zealand.

The text goes like this.

Dear

Please make sure that Public Libraries are a core service of Local Government across New Zealand.

Thank you!

yours sincerely

Signed __________________

Library users and book lovers are encouraged to send this postcard to the Parliament so that sighting recession as a reason, Government does not reduce library fund.

I would post the letter to-day.

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Responses

  1. Somehow I cannot help feeling a faint shudder, Tanmoy. Things have come to such a pass that MPs are having to be begged not to cut off funding for public libraries, and that too in a supposedly civilised country! What would those MPs prefer to divert scarce tax-revenues to, I wonder: more beauty salons, shopping malls, casinos and bordellos?

  2. Politicians are always the same. The library spending here is huge and NZ taxes are quite high but there is a fear that because of recession public spending on infrastructure (NZ needs trains!) may get stalled. Library fund can be one casualty.

  3. One of the many things that I think make the USA a civilized country is their fantastic system of public libraries. I must quickly add that I am aware of the fallacy inherent in this statement. From personal experience, I know that reading does not necessarily make us better or more civilized human beings, and therefore, the impact of libraries on the people who use them is open to question. Be that as it may, one can say, borrowing from Borges, “I do not know if education can save us, but I do not know of anything better.”

    From your posts, I have come to know that New Zealand too has a wonderful network of libraries.

    The second point that your post drives home is that NZ is a functioning democracy. People there communicate with their political representatives directly on issues that concern them, and possibly, it has some impact too. I request you to check to what extent such appeals influence the policymakers, and write on the subject in future.

    Comparison with our country is inevitable. In our democracy, people’s participation begins and ends with casting votes. For the rest, we depend mainly upon the media, and to a lesser extent, on activist groups like APDR, Narmada Bachao Andolon and some indomitable crusaders like Sundar Lal Bahuguna, Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy etc. The first group almost always have their hidden agenda, and commercial interests to protect. And although they too are invaluable pillars of democracy, they often confuse rather than clarify. This is one of the many aberrations of our democracy and it is time we tried something like the postcards described by you.

  4. I have never heard of such a thing before. Can you imagine doing the same here? Addressing such things directly, we would be laughed out of their offices. Here we are so insulated from anything like this. How many people even have a genuine concern for library funds? If the roads are bad, we shake our heads and just drive around the potholes, we figure that eventually, someone or the other would attend to issues. Hmmm.


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