Originally posted March 2011
For most rural towns in out-state Minnesota the Community Library is the cultural center of the region. Money allocated by the Minnesota Legacy Fund (the 2008, 3/8th percent increase in the State Sales Tax) has allowed the Arrowhead Regional Library System to provide cultural and arts experiences to a wide range of adults and young people that previously were living too far away to have access. Currently the Minnesota State Legislature is re-assessing the Legacy Funding for the Arrowhead Regional Libraries, they are in the process of gathering public input on the effectiveness of the Legacy Funding of arts and cultural programs for the last two years.
I have had the wonderful opportunity to see firsthand how this funding has effected people living in rural areas and small towns. Last summer I was hired by the Arrowhead Regional Library System to teach a series of one-day photography workshops. The first workshops I taught were for teens. I taught 13 workshops in July, about 3 per week. These workshops were held in the community libraries throughout the rural and small towns of the Arrowhead Region. The workshops were very well attended with most libraries filling the limited number of seats available.
Unlike the metro region of Minnesota where arts centers and cultural museums and organizations seem to thrive on every other street corner rural Minnesota has very few arts opportunities. For many teens living in rural areas the local public library is the only arts and cultural outlet available because the local schools have had drastic budget cuts in the arts curriculum.
Please join me in contacting your representative to let them know that the Minnesota Legacy Funding for the Regional Library System is critical for providing arts and cultural experiences in rural and small town Minnesota.
To contact your representative go to: http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/faq/faqtoc.aspx?id=47