Times aren’t just tough. They’re weird! And here’s proof:
I was recently recruited by Friends of the Seattle Public Library to persuade the City of Seattle not to cut the library budget. It gets weirder. My expertise and reason for testifying? Comic books.
I testified at a Seattle City Council budget hearing on April 20 that libraries needed to stay open so that kids can check out and read comics/graphic novels.
The 10-year-old kid in me—I once had to smuggle Captain America comics into our home because “funny books” were considered junk literature—is flabbergasted to be testifying about the importance of comics.
And yet, there I was explaining that graphic novels are now a major attraction in libraries—especially to kids:
“A few years ago, my daughter and her friends learned Japanese primarily so that they could read Japanese graphic novels.
“Today, hundreds [thousands?] of these books have been translated and published and are more popular than ever. And kids are devouring them. But times are tough.
“That means–for many kids—there’s only one place where they can find these books. Whether it’s graphic novels or Harry Potter or Moby Dick, it’s the library that’s going to keep our kids excited and reading.”
(A more complete version of my testimony is here on the Friends of the Library blog.)
Of course, there were other pleas on behalf of the library. Some quite serious—such as people needing the libraries so that they can go online and search for jobs. My plea, obviously, was the offbeat, pop-culture-with fun visual aids testimony.
As it turns out, none of this saved the library budget from being cut this year. But we were already fighting for next year’s budget. So, we’ll see what happens.