Our country’s founders understood the importance of an educated electorate. That’s why, as a society, we chose to support public education and what has been referred to as “the people’s university” – our wonderful system of public libraries.
As a writer, I value public libraries. Some of my happiest hours as a child were spent in the library. I learned to read at an early age, thanks to my mom. An avid reader, I didn’t just read books – I devoured them.
Many of our young people today view the local library as a safe haven and as a way to avoid the violence in the streets.
Consider what a library means during the Great Recession to our fellow citizens who are out of work? Libraries serve as a resource center, providing free access to computers, job search support, free or low cost computer classes and a host of other services which offer not a handout, but a hand up to a better job and a brighter future.
Many of our libraries’ budgets are now on the chopping block. But I strongly urge our politicians to consider the ramifications of cutting library budgets carefully before they act.
Now, more than ever before, there are a lot of hurting Americans who depend on these wonderful resources, our local libraries.
President John F. Kennedy understood the value of our libraries:
If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.
Read this great article about nine reasons why we every community needs to support its public libraries. The author says it much more eloquently than I could – please take a moment to read her article.
And when you have a chance to vote for a library levy or speak up when your local library is forced by budget cuts to close its doors or limit services, SPEAK UP and BE HEARD!
Ann, I would like to reply about the importance of libraries. About 17-18 years ago I went to the Reed Memorial library in Ravenna and found an 1857 plat map of Portage county hanging on the wall. The map was about 7 feet by 7 feet and had all the properties and who owned them. They may still have that map somewhere. It would be worth researching this map for family historians for a good point of reference and for the “wow” factor. Also a visit to the Portage county historical society would be of great interest.