Our City

City Library Cuts: Impact on the Community

The recent decision to halve the city library opening hours (from 96 to 48) has sparked concerns among residents about access to essential resources and services. Libraries are vital community hubs that provide access to books, computers, workshops, and knowledgeable staff. With fewer hours, residents, regardless of age or background, face limitations in accessing these resources, impacting opportunities for learning and engagement.

Moreover, libraries serve as inclusive spaces where individuals gather, connect, and participate in civic life. Reduced library hours diminish opportunities for community engagement and limit residents’ ability to access government services, educational programs, and community events. This can further marginalize underserved communities and exacerbate existing disparities in digital literacy and access to information.

One such organization is the Teen Advisory Board. The all-teen group creates a safe space and organizes activities aimed at teens who are not served by, or even uncomfortable with, the cities more traditional commercial offerings.

According to retired librarian Jim Schepke, the Salem’s library has to do with less than one-third the funding of the Eugene Public Library. Of the 25 Oregon public libraries serving a populations of more than 30,000 people, Salem places 25th in expenditure, 23rd in staff, 24th in ebooks and 22nd in opening hours. At this point, many Oregon cities with populations under 6,000 are open more hours per week than Salem.

It’s crucial for the City Council to consider the broader impact of their decision and explore alternative solutions to maintain access to library services for all residents. Community members can play a role in advocating for the preservation of library services by voicing their concerns to local representatives and supporting initiatives aimed at ensuring equal access to essential resources and services.

And the cuts might not be over

Your Library, Your Living Room

Use the many free online services of the Salem City Library from Home: Watch movies, listen to books, learn a language or how to craft… Here are some of our favorites.