Thanks for the “free” book everyone

The Big Read

I was at my local library today when I was given a “free” copy of To Kill A Mockingbird.

Who: The book comes from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of their The Big Read project.

Why: Their motive is summarized by this statement, which was a conclusion of their own study.

“…literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young…”

Now, if you were trying to find people to read books, would you target the patrons of your local library? Not sure I would. Where would you go? Leave a comment and tell me where.

The bigger astonishment for me however is not the location they chose, but how they are using OUR tax dollars.

Yes, YOUR tax dollars were spent to buy books for library patrons across the country. Our library received $10,000.00 to purchase these books. At $8 per book that’s 1,250 copies.

I just had my television upgraded at the expense of your tax dollars, now I was just given a book. Wow, isn’t life just fantastic with big brother.

The NEA is a federal agency funded by taxes. One interesting thing about the NEA and the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities), is that they both came out of one bill passed by congress in 1965. With a brief view of the bill I don’t see how TWO agencies should have been created from one bill called the “the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act“. Oh well, give them an inch and they take a mile.

I don’t think I like the idea of the Government taking my money by force to buy books for library patrons. Do you? I thought this quote from the text of the bill was interesting.

Such funding should contribute to public support and confidence in the use of taxpayer funds.”

Does The Big Read project build confidence in how your tax dollars are spent?

Here is one more quote from the bill.

“While no government can call a great artist or scholar into existence, it is necessary and appropriate for the Federal Government to help create and sustain not only a climate encouraging freedom of thought, imagination, and inquiry, but also the material conditions facilitating the release of this creative talent.”

Just because the cause is good, that doesn’t justify the Government’s involvment… does it? Please leave your comments below.