I used to have a Library of Congress library card. When I was living in Washington, DC, I interned for former Senator Zell Miller (D-GA), and was in graduate school. One of my top priorities was to get that Library of Congress reading card. Taking the underground tunnels from the Senate to the Library of Congress, I stood in line to get my library card.

I wanted access to the treasures that the Library of Congress held. I wanted to be able reach across centuries to attain the information I wanted—reliable, well-researched, professional library materials. I wanted to be able to ask librarians for help on the research I was doing. I was fortunate that our federal government provided that ability to anyone who wanted it. When you are a library card holder whether here in Cobb County or anywhere in the United States, you hold a key. A key that unlocks many things—a communal space, an important book, a meeting room to discuss the important issues, tutoring spaces, baby/toddler/kid programs, newspapers, magazines, DVDs, informed professionals to help you and so much more.

Libraries are community hubs. In addition to connecting people to information, libraries connect people to people. They are safe havens for kids when school is not in session, offering after school homework help, games and book clubs. Libraries offer computer classes, enabling older adults stay engaged in a digital world. New residents of Cobb, are going to have to look much harder to pick up that Zoo Pass or that latest DVD.

Don't Close the Books on Our Libraries

Rachel Slomovitz is a Cobb citizen. She teaches in several spots around Cobb. She hold a Masters Degree in Political Management from George Washington University, and a Bachelors of Political Science from University of Massachusetts- Amherst. She finds herself focused on local issues that will improve the quality the life of her neighbors—parks, libraries, green spaces, and the environment.

As Cobb citizens, the strength of that “key” is diminishing. There are 8 public libraries located throughout Cobb County, including our beloved East Cobb Library, on the chopping block. Facing a $30 million budget shortfall, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners is proposing a $2.9 million cut out of the library budget. That is a 25% reduction of the county library department’s annual budget. 124 part-time employees will be laid off, 8 county libraries will be shut. Library hours will be chopped almost in half.

I believe we need to fight to save this precious community resource. I have started a Facebook group called ‘Save Cobb Libraries’–please come join us. We need to work with the Board of Commissioners to show them that the libraries are worth fighting for. Future generations demand this access to libraries- this communal space, the tutoring spots, the meeting rooms, the books, the professionals.

We can only fight the tide of ‘fake news’ with well-educated students, a well informed populace. In the words of Walter Cronkite, “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” Please research who your Commissioner is, and let him/her know what the libraries mean to you.

This article was written by Rachel Slomovitz and originally appeared in the March issue of the EAST COBBER magazine, on page 12. Click here to view the digital edition.