I Geek Schooners. I Geek Beekeeping.I Geek Worms. If you live in Georgia, you may have seen those great posters. Being a bit of an oldie, I had to figure out that geek, used as a verb, means to be passionate about, or obsessed with a subject. Historians, by their nature, are obsessives, and that obsessiveness tends to spill over into our amateur interests: My geeks (if you will) have included baking, the music of Edward Elgar, and (lately) vintage postcards.
Without libraries, geeking is not just expensive, but impossible. At some point, usually early in the process of geekery, one's need to know everything about a subject demands that one consults books--and not just those that Google has so helpfully uploaded, bless them.
Geeks need libraries. And America needs geeks. Do I really need to give examples? Okay, then: Bill Gates. Thomas Edison. Julia Child (yes, I just saw the movie, thank you.)
More than that, geeking adds soul to every life: Our passions define us, entertain us, soothe us, and make us happy.
But why a campaign about geeking?
Folks, America's libraries are in huge trouble. Nationwide, we're seeing slashed hours and services, even closed libraries. Before public libraries, libraries belonged only to the wealthy (a point I make in Book 2, by the way.) The web has helped democratize information, but we cannot rely on it: In-copyright books remain accessible only through our public libraries, which are essential to our democracy.
Did you know that the operating revenue per head for libraries in America is just $35? And that, to our utter shame, it is only $20 here in Georgia?
$16 comes from local sources
$3 from state sources
$0.08 from federal sources
$1 from donations and fees.
We need to make sure that, here in Georgia and throughout America, our local governments stop cutting library budgets. Even during the boom years, the budgets were lean: This is a question of priorities, not resources. To find out how you and your community can help, please visit www.geekthelibrary.org
Oh, and by the way? The Geek the Library Campaign is brought to you by OCLC, and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, not frpm library budgets because, trust me, your library can't afford it. Please spread the word in your community, and I'll do the same right here in Snipesville.