Source: Sherman Publications

Who needs a community library? We all do!

January 11, 2012

(In response to: ‘Necessity of a library?’ The Citizen, Dec. 10, page 6)

Dear Editor,

Over the holiday period, I spent much of my time advocating for libraries. I was stunned to read a letter-to-the-editor in The Citizen that essentially claimed that there is no longer any need for public libraries, since everything anyone needs is available on the Internet or through eBooks. In an age where people are standing in line to claim the demise of the print book, this attitude can be somewhat understandable, but I believe that the writer of that letter is missing the essential value of public libraries in their communities.

Public libraries support the growth of their communities. We design classes that teach early literacy skills to babies, preschoolers and their parents, preparing children for a successful school experience. We co-sponsor programs designed to support the needs of the small business and entrepreneurial community, working together with Chambers and DDAs to develop a stable and growing business economy. Countless numbers of out-of-work residents use local library job and career centers to find new jobs, write resumes and cover letters, and learn interviewing skills.

Libraries are about leveling the playing field, making resources for educational and personal growth freely available to all who seek it, but we are most about nurturing the potential of Next; the next innovator, the next teacher, the next community leader, the next successful business, the next local employer, the next employee, the next reader, the next learner.

Yes, physical books will continue to translate themselves into bits and bytes, and we will continue to provide them in digital, as well as print format. No need to pay Amazon or Barnes and Noble for the latest eBook or print bestseller. It’s waiting for you right at your library at no charge. You can use the information you get from that book to help grow and sustain community and to change your world.

Who needs a community library? We all do!

Paula Gauthier, Brandon Township Public Library Director