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Who Doesn’t Love Books

Just a bit of an addendum to the cartoon I ran the other day.  It’s in tandem with this piece from Laredo, Texas [Webb county] which currently is a tad larger as Boise.  The literacy rate is estimated to be around 48% lacking in “basic literacy skills” which makes this all the more disturbing. (It’s from the 2003 census, U.S. Dept. of Education – Boise = 7%)

On January 16, Barnes & Noble, which owns B. Dalton, closed the store inside Laredo’s Mall del Norte.

That leaves Laredo, Texas, population of 250,000, one of the largest cities in the United States without a bookstore.

The closest bookstore is now 150 miles away, in San Antonio, Texas.

Can you imagine having to drive to Twin Falls or Ketchum, maybe John Day, Oregon or beyond to hang out in a bookstore?

There must be libraries, right?

Laredo does have two public libraries with a catalog of more than 200,00 books. But library officials say they can’t keep up with the demand for the most popular titles.

I would suppose keeping up with that demand involves money.

So then being curious I thought I’d check out the ratio of bookstores versus libraries in Boise and the valley.

Just within a 5-10 mile radius of me, there is approximately 15 bookstores everything from ‘Windmill Bookstore’ to Rediscovered Books to the Christian Science Reading Center, not to mention those places with books sharing space in Hastings or Crone’s  Cupboard.

As for libraries – well, there’s a story.  Sixteen and more stretching libraries available to the public from Twin Falls to Hailey, Star, Emmett – not to mention the nine or so within Boise and Ada County.  Not included are the libraries at the college level, the hospitals or medical centers with libraries, those institutions that house libraries like the state with its Idaho Historical Library and the Law Library downtown.

How sad.  I cannot imagine having a bookstore to rummage around in.  I’ve loved books since being a small kid, managed to instill it in my daughter, and we are both working hard on keeping that book love alive in my granddaughter.

Zhuara Rivera has her work cut out for her that’s for sure.  On the front page of the Laredo Public Library web site, there is a link to the petition started by the young Ms Rivera.

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