To the Editor:
It seems that as the time gets closer to the elections on August 8 for school and library mileage requests, that things are getting more and more heated between 2 factions that either want or don’t want a new library. I’m obviously biased, as I’m a former WCCL library employee plus a lifelong reader, but I’m putting in my two cents for your consideration.
When I started working a the library part-time, it was deﬁnitely an eye-opening experience for me. I knew that not everyone checked out books or CDs, but I had no clue as to the amazing number of things that people came into the library for. You think that the library is just for checking out books? In our library in White Cloud, at little or no cost, you have access to:
* Notary Public
* Copy machine
* Fax machine
* Legal and tax forms
* Computer use. That’s a big one. Not everyone has internet service, or sometimes the power goes out. People need to do job searches, ﬁle for unemployment, do research for school papers, and any number of reasons known only to them.
* Meeting room/lounge area. Many small groups meet here, including cub scouts, girl scouts, and lots of summer programs have presentations here (John Ball Zoo for one). Some people come in to hang out in the lounge area & read a magazine to kill time while in the area. Many more “enrichment” type programs could have a place to be held if only there was more room.
* Summer Reading Programs for the children. This is a very cool program that’s been going on forever to keep the young ones up to speed on their reading. Lots of neat prizes, and it’s a place where reading a book is given value. Never a bad thing.
* Lots of books, magazines, and CD’s (both movies and educational/music videos. The books that are housed in the library building are only a small part of what you have access to. Our library is a part of the Lakeland system and the MELS system, which means that you have the capability of checking out a book that’s housed anywhere in the State of Michigan in one of those systems. Many E-books are available also if you have access to an E-reader.
I understand that one of the biggest reasons that the public is expressing against the library mileage is that they want to see road improvement ﬁrst. Everyone has an opinion on this issue, and it does need to be addressed. It’s unfortunate that our city elections for mayor are not coming ﬁrst, but we have to deal with things in the order that they’re coming. One positive improvement at a time.
A millage request is always an opportunity to say “no” to additional taxes. But we all have the responsibility to decide what our taxes will go towards by our vote. Though I don’t have children of my own, I feel it’s important to “pay it forward” and give a much-needed new library building to generations to come after us. We ALL deserve to have our viewpoints expressed and valued. This is just mine and I thank you for taking the time to listen.
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