Beltrami County Board Meeting 8/16/2022

 My name is Jeremiah Liend, I am a resident of Turtle River and I am here to comment regarding the proposed cuts to the library program. I will not spend time on discussing how inhumane it is, to threaten people’s livelihoods during these uncertain times. I will not go into detail about how awful the idea is, or how it makes me angry, sad, and embarrassed to have to come here and explain to adults why we need to fully fund our library. Nor will I simply beg you to fund the library at the requested levels, you should give them more money. 8% would be a more appropriate figure, based on inflation. Currently public workers are bearing the brunt of inflation related price increases.

In her article Library as Infrastructure, Shannon Mattern examines the many functions the library has in our society. Specifically she says this regarding Libraries as Social Infrastructure. 

“Public libraries are often seen as “opportunity institutions,” opening doors to, and for, the disenfranchised. People turn to libraries to access the internet, take a GED class, get help with a resumé or job search, and seek referrals to other community resources. A recent report by the Center for an Urban Future highlighted the benefits to immigrants, seniors, individuals searching for work, public school students and aspiring entrepreneurs: “No other institution, public or private, does a better job of reaching people who have been left behind in today’s economy, have failed to reach their potential in the city’s public school system or who simply need help navigating an increasingly complex world.” 

Why on earth would a responsible body diminish those opportunities, or narrow those doors? 

I have heard it said that because the library has a reserve account that they should use that to weather these cuts, and sometimes an idea is so asinine, cruel, and absurd that it deserves closer examination. If we are to punish institutions who prepare for inevitable damages or necessary improvements, then let’s do it to individuals as well. So I’m working on a referendum. 

Whereby upon election an official must disclose their income and assets and if those resources are above federal poverty guidelines then that official is ineligible for pay or benefits.

Looking at this board of fiscally responsible individuals, surely you have the savings and assets to weather this economic crisis, we will simply divert unnecessary and redundant pay until you are living hand to mouth, and then we will gladly pay you. Those who claim these cuts are medicine should be prepared to swallow it themselves. 

Thank you.


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