Updated: Aug 14, 2020
Throughout the pandemic, our libraries have done an amazing job doing outreach and facilitating access to materials. Our parks and trails have never seen such high usage, as citizens seek social distancing outdoors. The need in Dallas is vast and if libraries and parks aren't protected, it will hurt those with the greatest need. Let's make sure that these resources are not impacted as budget pencils get sharpened!
In case you are curious, 60% of the general budget goes towards public safety (police and firefighters). Whereas, libraries and parks account for 8% of the budget. You can delve into the details of the City of Dallas' general budget. This year, the city is allocating $5M to forming new Right CARE teams that will be able to address behavioral health issues that diverted police resources from 911 calls. We think this is a great idea but believe that additional funds are need for libraries and parks, where we directly see the effect of homeless. Note that homeless solutions is allocation a measly 1% of the budget.
Given that by now you are probably an expert at virtual meetings, we ask that you add your councilmember's Budget Town Hall to your calendar. There are 28 virtual Town Hall meetings scheduled between August 13 through August 27, and your voice, when unified with other citizens, makes a difference!
1. Sign-up to attend and/or speak at your councilmember's virtual Budget Town Hall meetings scheduled between August 13 – 27.
District 2 Adam Medrano: 8/13 5:30PM and 8/17 6:30PM
District 6 Omar Narvaez: 8/17 6:30PM and 8/24 5:30PM
District 13 Jennifer Gates: 8/18 6PM and 8/20 6PM
2. Send an email to your councilmember asking them to support parks and libraries
3. Invite friends, family and co-workers to join you!
WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT PARKS?
According to a recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association, 83 percent of U.S. adults agree that visiting their local parks, trails and open spaces is essential for their mental and physical well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly three in five adults say that access to park and recreation amenities are very or extremely essential to their mental and physical health.
Living close to parks and other recreation facilities is consistently related to higher physical activity levels for both adults and youth. Moreover, parks provide a connection to nature, which studies demonstrate relieves stress, tightens interpersonal relationships and improves mental health.
On average, children who live in greener environments weigh less than children who live in less green areas.
Between 2000 and 2012, more than 85 studies have been published that link parks to better physical and mental health.
According to a recent article in Yale Environment 360 – Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health – a growing body of research points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing. Now, policymakers, employers, and healthcare providers are increasingly considering the human need for nature in how they plan and operate.
WHY ARE LIBRARIES IMPORTANT?
The Friends of the Dallas Public Library have put together an amazing set of talking points that you can print out, which are specific to Dallas, make sure to review these! In general, libraries are key to:
Early Learning & Literacy
Librarians nurture literacy development, beginning at birth. Libraries promote a range of literacies, offering family storytimes, access to new learning technologies and training for caregivers about the importance of early literacy and how to nurture pre-reading skills at home
Jobs & Careers
Libraries support patrons at all stages of their lives. Many library systems across the country offer workforce development activities, including high school or career certifications, resume and job application assistance, and Career and Technical Education programs.
Libraries propel entrepreneurship across the United States. Entrepreneurs seek out libraries to develop their business plans, access data to research emerging markets, or use 3-D printers and other technologies available in the library for prototype material.
Libraries are community hubs for digital literacy and 21st century skills building. For the 28 million U.S. households lacking broadband internet service at home, the library is often the only place for access to computers and the internet.