Banned books and other forms of censorship

On the banning of books, censorship and other freedom of access issues

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Southern Oregon libraries close

The Sunday San Francisco Chronicle (March 4) features a front page article on the closure of all public libraries in Jackson county of southern Oregon, described as the largest shut down of libraries in U.S. history. Fifteen libraries will be shut down, including at least one that just opened as a new library, and 100 library employees will be laid off. The libraries had lost $7 million in federal funding for this year, 80 percent of its annual budget, and the county in the midst of its own fiscal crisis from federal cutbacks, chose keeping public safety services as a higher priority.

According to reporter Meredith May,
the "crisis in southern Oregon can be traced not only to changing funding priorities on Capitol Hill, but also to crooked railroad deals in the Wild West, a spotted owl and a shrinking timber harvest." In November of last year, Jackson county residents voted down a $9 million property tax levy to keep the library system afloat. The same levy will come up on the ballot again this May, but "in order to pass, 50 percent of the registered voters have to participate in the election, and a majority of them have to vote yes."

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