Rep. Grijalva joins funding fight for libraries in southern AZ - Tucson News Now

Rep. Grijalva joins funding fight for libraries in southern AZ

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

President Trump's proposed 2018 budget is a cut to the nation's public library system.

In fact, according to some members of Congress, it sweeps all $230 million, much of it in the Library Service Technology Act, or LSTA.

There is a move in Congress to stop the cuts, which also affect the National Endowment for the Arts, Public Television, and others but the urgent focus is on libraries.

District 3 Congressman Raul Grijalva is one of 157 members of Congress asking the Appropriations committee to provide $186.6 million for the libraries. 

You can find the letter here.

"Libraries are about the future," said Grijalva. "They're about learning and they are about giving stability to a community."

They are, the letter says, the only free internet service in most communities. That is true for the El Pueblo Neighborhood Center library.

"We are a small library but we have 21 computers," said Librarian Anna Sanchez. "In the afternoon every computer is being utilized."

It usually has a waiting list.

"We could use 21 more," Sanchez says.

It might be a small library but is serves a big function on the Southside.

"For many of our residents, they don't have internet access at home," she said. "So the library is the place they come to."

Many transactions can only be done online such as job applications and other social services. Others use it for games or to keep in touch with family through Facebook.

But Grijalva says free public libraries are as old as the nation itself. 

"Quite frankly, it goes back against the tradition that has been part of the nation's history since its inception," he said. 

As for the 157 signatures, Grijalva says "I think that number will increase."

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