Letter: Libraries a big waste of money

I was relaxing with The Advocate and my first cup of coffee Sunday morning June 23. I came across the article regarding the EBR Library budget, and couldn’t believe the numbers I was seeing.

An annual budget of $45.4 million. Doing some quick math, and assuming 20 percent of every man, woman and child in EBR use the library, this comes out to more than $500 per user. We could provide each person with 20 new books, every year, to keep (assuming $25/book). A few more points:

  • I noticed at the Jones Creek Branch library that there is a video surveillance system with about 10 cameras and flat screen TV monitors. How was this expense justified? Is there that much theft taking place? You can take the books out for free!
  • Of course, some new books need to be ordered each year, but don’t we already have 90 percent-95 percent of the books (DVDs, CDs, etc.) we need already? Why do we need $45 million every year?
  • You mention that “revenues” are $39.2 million per year. You make it sound like the library is getting income from selling some sort of product. It would be clearer to call this “revenue” what it truly is, i.e., taxes.

I realize there are costs for infrastructure maintenance, etc., but, overall this looks like a classic example of government wasting our tax dollars.

I recommend that property owners look at the line item for the EBR Library on their property tax assessments. Go ahead, you’ll be amazed. Oh, and when that millage renewal comes up for a vote in 2015, let’s say NO for a change.

Michael Coyle

electric power engineer (ret.)

Baton Rouge