NewsHour’s Patchwork Nation reported earlier this year on Laredo, Texas’s lone bookstore shutting down. Libraries are now also feeling the pinch of recent municipal cutbacks around the country.
In Florida, state funding for libraries was just cut entirely, and in other states, like California, fines are increasing and opening hours are shortening.
Libraries closing mean less Internet access for people without broadband at home, and fewer activities like readings and children’s classes.
The West Palm Beach Post reported:
Without state aid, Murray says the West Palm Beach library will have budgetary issues. It will hurt them the most with affording software that automates the library. Also, they would have to eliminate the AmeriCorps program, which provides volunteers for the library that goes to schools and works in minority communities, etc.
And while schools and libraries are facing cutbacks, publishers may be getting a boost from new standards in public schools.
Marketplace’s Amy Scott reports:
Jay Diskey is executive director of the Association of American Publishers’ School Division. He says after a big push to rewrite curricula in the 1990s, some publishers saw double-digit sales increases. Standardization could also save publishers money. Diskey says having to customize materials to meet a patchwork of state standards has driven up costs.
There’s certainly no shortage of books about the economy. Paul Solmon took a poll of economists to find out what’s on their bedside tables.
Yale University professor and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller recommends Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages and Well-Being, by George A. Akerlof and Rachel E. Kranton and Economics of Integrity: From Dairy Farmers to Toyota, How Wealth Is Built on Trust and What That Means for Our Future, by Anna Bernasek.
There is some overlap between the books, but each offers what seems to me to be a very important perspective for our times, that may resonate especially well in this financial crisis.
By looking at economics as a branch of evolutionary biology and ecology, we can see new patterns and processes that explain much of the recent financial crisis, and the years of prosperity that led up to the crash.