As Illinois' network of regional library systems collapses without much apparent concern on the part of Illinois political leaders, it's worth reflecting on what author Christine Taylor-Butler said last month when she came to Chicago to accept an award from the Society of Midland Authors for her 2009 book Sacred Mountain: Everest.
" When I was growing up ... nobody in my neighborhood had ever seen a real writer," said.Taylor-Butler, who now lives in Kansas City. "So when I talked about writing, that wasn't a real career . . . because when you grow up an urban child you have no exposure to the world in the way it exists outside of your city or your neighborhood and no one tells you you have potential for that, or that the world can be open.
"So I lived in the Cleveland Public Library ...I was there until closing every day until they kicked me out. I was there every single weekend."
Legislators didn't vote to shut down the regional systems; they just didn't act as the state stopped paying the money it had appropriated. The North Suburban Library System was the first to run out of money, shrinking to a skeleton operation, and others are facing the same budgetary squeeze.
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