One of the founders of the Alaska Library Consortium (ALC) informed us that “the Haines Public Library officially notified my office that because of budgetary reasons they would be withdrawing from the ALC in 2021.” If this withdrawal continues, it is a devastating loss for our community.

There are more than two million accessible titles in the consortium catalog, which is “a game changer in redefining library resource sharing across the state while reducing operating costs for participating libraries.” Ninety-seven percent of those books, movies, magazines and other material will be gone with the consortium if we begin “operating on a local system only.”

Having used the consortium resources extensively, we cannot think of a bigger loss for the citizens of Haines in terms of our access to free and reliable information.

It is estimated that 44% of people in Alaska are poor — 319,000 residents. Our library consortium allows everyone equal access to educational material, and helps ensure that knowledge is not exclusively for the rich. Now we face isolation to compound the poverty, while viral misinformation campaigns run rampant.

Withdrawing from the ALC is tantamount to losing our library and our connection to the literary world. Who gets to decide to cut Haines off from the ALC, when that much knowledge is at stake?

Cadie Buckley and Arjun Raman