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Letter to the Editor


Libraries and senior facilities essential, reader says



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April 17, 2013 - Dear Editor,

Many business people are used to the "Cost – Benefit" model, which makes sense where the issue is purely dollars and cents.

But we are talking about a community, with people of many age groups, varying incomes, varying resources, of various needs; most of whom pay taxes.

So such a model when applied to a community involves people and their needs, not just money. Most communities understand this, but there are differences of opinion as to what services are "essential" to meet these needs.Most people agree that such services are police and fire protection, provision of good roads are essential, but not everyone agrees that libraries and senior services are essential.

What must be recognized is libraries and senior services are essential, particularly given the changes occurring in communities such as Independence Township.

According to SEMCOG and other sources, in just a couple of years the number of seniors in this township will exceed the number of children enrolled in schools – in fact they constitute the fastest growing segment of our community where other parts of the population growth is leveling off and the growth of all other age groups is declining.

Incomes are declining significantly.There are notions that Libraries are antiquated and unnecessary; yes, they are antiquated, but are very necessary – they simply need better facilities, equipment and services.

More people are using libraries for job searches, reading material, as quiet spaces, and for research of various kinds.

One reason libraries are considered unnecessary is because more printed resources are being digitized – that is, available by electronic means. But many of these resources are too costly for individuals to access.

Many of these resources require ownership of appropriate electronic equipment, such as computers, iPhones, or iPads which require a degree of technical knowledge and finances; the older you are, the less likely you are to have that knowledge – and, then, it changes rapidly – and the better devices cost more money, or costly apps or software.

These devices are socially isolating – you don't have the benefit of face-to-face conversation, especially for Seniors who do not want to be isolated. All of this is particularly challenging to seniors.

The evidence is clear: facilities and services provided by a library and senior center are essential, and are a clear benefit for our taxpayers – the cost is worth it. They have gone underfunded for too long, and certainly don't need to be downsized; they need to be brought into the 21st Century!

Dr. Thomas K. Stone

Clarkston

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