Target: American Library Association
Goal: Urge failing public libraries being hit by budget cuts to merge with public school systems.
The Chicago Public School system (CPS) has recently unveiled a merger with the Chicago Public Library system. The new Back of the Yards High School will be the first ever public high school to come equipped with a public library inside the same building. The merger at first may seem strange, mixing a high school with a public institution that anyone has access to during operating hours, especially in light of recent public shootings; however, the merger has quite a few pros that other cities with extreme educational budget cuts might want to pay attention to.
While during economic struggles, for whatever reason, the educational budgets are always among the first to be cut. Because of this, Chicago’s merging of the two institutions will continue to serve their same purposes while also saving some cash by combining their revenue pools. The joining of both institutions means less land area being taken up as well as cheaper leased space, while running one single ‘community campus.’ With inevitable budget cuts, community programs are usually next in line. By joining the two systems, students can help support community programs, especially programs that tutor younger children, while also getting community service hours all under the same roof. Having a public library built into your high school is a no-brainer when it comes to giving students easier access to a greater supply of books and other resources, vastly greater than normally subpar high school libraries.
Signing this petition will help grab the attention of other cities with public libraries and public schools that are being hit hard by the ongoing economic struggle. The last things a community should ignore during a tough economy are the public educational systems and community programs that actually help strengthen it in the long run.
Dear American Library Association
I am sure you are well aware of the merger between a branch of the Chicago Public Library system and a public high school forming the Back of the Yard High School community campus. The joining of the two institutions seem to make a lot of sense for cities with heavy budget cuts to their public school and library funds. Only time will show whether the merger is effective and worthwhile, but I am writing to you today to strongly encourage you to consider this option over the closure of any more libraries, such as the 22 forthcoming library closures in Miami-Dade County, Fl.
Joining the two institutions will create one single revenue stream, with less storefront space and cheaper building leases, as well as a more centralized hub for community support, and community volunteering by students in the same building. I recognize in the current economy, budget cuts are bound to happen but by joining forces between schools and libraries, there could be a less drastic effect.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Chicago Public Building Commission