During the stimulus debate, people kept saying how hard it would be to spend money. Leaving aside the ridiculous notion that a local or state politician couldn’t figure out how to use freely given money, it was painfully obvious that state and local governments would not only get hit hard, but were already being hit hard. So depressingly, we find this study that relates library spending to library use.
Guess what? Libraries are being asked to do more with less. Here’s the change in circulation from 2005 to 2011 for fifteen cities in the U.S.:
And here’s the decrease in revenue:
Keep in mind that this is simply the amount lost compared to before the recession. That doesn’t mean more money couldn’t be spent on top of that. Would the U.S. economy come to a grinding halt if we doubled library budgets? Of course not.
But it’s really difficult to spend money. Or something.