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Please share widely!!

There are severe-to the tune of $800 K!! -- budgetary cuts proposed for the Nashville Metro libraries. These cuts would deeply affect the Main downtown library including our superb story time and children's programming, but also other branch days & hours of operation as well as staffing. These cuts go up for vote beginning Tuesday. One of the great equalizers and community builders, the PUBLIC library brings art, literature, culture and a haven to all walks of life in our city. Keep it so!

*Even IF you've already written to your council person, the budget committee needs to hear from its constituents-I am told that this is the only way to have your voice heard and to possibly STOP these cuts.* A simple email in support of the library and in opposition of the proposed cuts will do the trick. Please send your email here: [email protected] v

(Letter template below!!)

Thank you!


Here's WSMV's piece from last week:

And below, Suburban Turmoil in yesterday's Nashville Scene gives the issue some ink:

Suburban Turmoil


June 21, 2007


Don't F&@# with Story Time

by Lindsay Ferrier

"I just don't know if I'm ready to date again yet," a recently divorced mommy friend of mine sighed not long ago. "I don't even know where I'd find a man."

"How about Library Pete?" I suggested helpfully. "Or The Professor? I know you've been wondering what's under that lab coat." We both snickered wickedly.

If you're an urban Nashville mom, you're probably snickering, too. Library Pete, The Professor and their female counterpart, Mary Mary, all star in the downtown library's weekly story time, a half-hour children's program that's developed a cult following among the stay-at-home moms of Green Hills, Belle Meade and Bellevue. Three times a day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the trio entertain scores of preschoolers with a high-energy extravaganza of stories, puppets and songs, while the pert and well-tended moms look on with the kind of rapt devotion they once reserved for Evan Dando.

Some of you story time virgins out there may not be able to imagine what's so appealing about a trio of librarians singing along to a karaoke machine and playing with hand puppets that boast names like Cedric the Dragon and Tommy Dog. But just wait until you see The Professor juggle an impossible number of balls in an arc that stretches to the ceiling and hear the chortle of delight burst from your Tasmanian Devil of a toddler. You'll be smitten, I guarantee it. I've never invited a mom to join me who hasn't come back for more, and if some of them are harboring secret fantasies about a Library Pete/Professor sandwich, well, I can't say I blame them.

"They are local celebrities!" explains local mom and story time junkie Paige La Grone Babcock. "To see The Professor out in public, my son goes nuts." Paige makes sure her toddler son gets his story time fix almost every week. She was there two weeks ago when Mary Mary delivered some shocking news to the buzzing fans seated before her.

"At the beginning, Mary Mary announced that due to the proposed city budget, the library might have reduced hours beginning in July and would open at 10," Paige recounted. "That means no 9:30 story time Tuesday or Wednesday." In fact, Mayor Bill Purcell's proposed budget cuts library funding by $800,000. If the Metro Council approves it, hours at all branches would have to be shortened and 18 positions eliminated. Maybe Mayor Purcell figured no one would care that the libraries might open an hour later or close on Sundays, but if some local mommies have anything to do with it, he figured wrong. Stiff the city hospital. Slash tourism funding. But don't fuck with story time.

When she got home that day, Paige, a self-described "apron string revolutionary" and local coordinator of the activist group Mothers Acting Up, immediately wrote a letter to her local council member, Mike Jameson, pleading with him to reject the library budget cuts and save story time. Next, she sent emails with the news to everyone else she knew. "This is not about me and my kid," she explained. "It's about us as representatives of kids and parents everywhere."

Metro Council member Jim Shulman says the council is getting the message loud and clear. "The library is definitely one of the biggest issues we're hearing about," he says, and story time is one of its major selling points.

Shulman sounds like he takes story time seriously, which is good considering that he represents many of the Green Hills MOMS Club members. I can tell you from experience, you don't want to cross them. "In a $1.6 billion budget," he says, "surely we can find something to put in for the library." Good call, Shulman. Now maybe you won't find a baby doll with its head ripped off on your front doorstep.

The Metro Council will meet next Tuesday to discuss the budget. They have until June 30 to make changes and approve a final version before the fiscal year starts July 1. In the meantime, Paige is hoping Nashville's moms will dust off their Ann Taylor Loft capris and do something. "I so hope there will be an uprising of parents," she says. "I really hope parents will take this as an opportunity to speak out for something they love so much."

Maybe the mommies will stage a sit-in outside council chambers and sing the famous story time "Rainbow" song over and over again until the council members' ears bleed. Or maybe they'll march down Broadway using hand puppets to shout their message of, "1, 2, 3, 4, save story time or we'll spank you 'til you're sore!"Or maybe they'll at least write to their council members and ask them to restore the library funding to the budget. After all, Paige just informed me that The Professor is married. How much more bad news can these mommies take?


Template for letter to send in support of the public library to: [email protected] v

Dear Public Servants,

I write today to request that you represent the many Nashvillians who oppose budget cuts to our public library. As a citizen and a parent strongly vested in community building and cultural offerings on an equal playing field, I ask you to stand strong for our public library's programming.

The proposed cuts would reduce children's programming at the downtown library alone by a minimum of one third, thereby denying our smallest citizens a rich cultural resource and punishing our city's next generation of leaders by our misguided sense of balance. I encourage you to contact me to speak further about this issue, and thank you in advance for your response.

With all good wishes and hope for all our children,


[organization if applicable]

[titles, like these: mother, outreach coordinator, community organizer, tax payer]

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