Saturday, March 12, 2016

HB 2719- An Open Letter

To the House Taxation Committee:

I am writing today in opposition to HB 2719. I was shocked to read that the bill’s expressed goal is to “empower citizens of Kansas” with legislation that could threaten access to libraries and library materials. Libraries are a wonderful way to empower Kansans by helping enrich our lives, give access to information, and save us money.
I use the shared catalog multiple times a month. It is very convenient!
As a parent, a teacher, and an educated adult, I understand the importance of reading and try to model being a joyful reader to my children and my students. My family and I, as well as many others our community, have greatly benefited from the NExpress shared catalog as well as the state library system. I use the shared catalog multiple times a month to request books that my library does not carry. The beautiful thing about the shared catalog is that it makes our libraries, and our worlds, bigger. It is many libraries banding together to share their materials with patrons. Libraries aren’t just about books, they are about making connections. Yes, part of my taxes go to fund our local library and the library system, but that is a good thing. I get access to just about any material- book, audio book, movie- that I could want without having to purchase the materials myself. Even if I did buy every book I wanted to read, I would still want to support the library system because I believe everybody should have access to books and information regardless of their income.
I have been told that 48 Kansas communities could lose their libraries and that 58 more would be at risk. How can we stand for this possibility? It seems so wrong to me to take away opportunities to access library materials from people who may not have other means.
I urge you to please vote no on HB 2719. Please don’t take away our access to the NExpress shared catalog and other shared systems around the state. Please don’t threaten the future of our libraries.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Katie Morris  

Holton, KS

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