Monthly Archives: April 2013

Hooray for Public Libraries

To continue the celebration of National Library Week, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite quotations about libraries.

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Jorge Luis Borges, essayist and poet

“The greatness of a city is measured by the quality of its library.” Benjamin Franklin, author, inventor, statesman

“Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.” Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady

“The richest person in the world—in fact all the riches in the world—couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library.” Malcolm Forbes, publisher and entrepreneur

“I require books as I require air.” Sholem Asch, novelist

When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.” Rita Mae Brown, novelist

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Cicero, Roman philosopher

“Here is where people,
One frequently finds,
Lower their voices
And raise their minds.” Richard Armour, poet and author

“Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit, reminders of order, calm and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark…In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed.” Germaine Greer, journalist

“The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.” Carl Sagan, astronomer and author

Support your local library!

Libraries…Still a Valuable Resource

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The following is a letter submitted to the Town Board of my home town in an effort to garner financial support for our library.  In honor of National Library week, April 14-20, I’ve shared it here.

Dear Town Board Members,

As you know, I’m a vocal advocate of community libraries. I grew up on a farm on a dirt road in Johnston County. I spent much physical time in tobacco, cucumber, and soy bean fields, but those hot, dusty acres never confined my imagination. With any free minute, I held a book in my hand.  Through those books, I wasn’t stuck on a North Carolina farm. I could roam the English moors with Jane Eyre or discover Prince Edward Island along with Anne Shirley. Books introduced me to possibilities. I want the children of Princeton to realize possibilities also.

A library is necessary for the literacy and education of a healthy community. Because of the free events and services offered in libraries, they are a hub of social and educational activity. Reading to young children helps improve their language skills and sets them on the road to lifelong learning. In fact, a 2005 study from Illinois shows that “students who frequently visit well-stocked and well-staffed school libraries end up with higher ACT scores and perform better on reading and writing exams.”

The Princeton Public Library is a valuable resource to our community. Patrons use the library to access books, videos, and music from all seven county libraries. They can order a book from Benson, for example, and pick it up in Princeton a few days later. It houses the only JobLink resource in the county for displaced workers. With its six computers, the library provides internet access for communication, research, and college resume submissions for people who don’t have internet access at home.

Our library has enjoyed a successful year in terms of usage. Last July and August, the Summer Story Time served an average of 40 children for six weeks. Our patron count has increased for the first two months of the year. In January, 2012, our patrons numbered 216. In 2013, the number rose to 266, a 23.14% increase. In February, 2012, we served 343 people. In February, 2013, 378 patrons used the library for a 10.2% rise.

For the past two years, the Town Board has allocated $5000 to the library’s budget. Three people, Debbie Cobb, Judy Boyette, and I, bear the burden of raising the remainder of our budget, $5800, through the annual golf tournament and other fundraisers. The $10,800 pays for twelve operational hours per week—less than half of the available hours for Four Oaks, the second smallest county library.

Currently, we are facing a temporary closing because of a lack of funds. Thanks to a recent NewsLeader article highlighting our plight, we have received a few donations and are waiting for a few promises to become reality.

We have many ideas for the future of our library: more operational hours to better serve Princeton, a real summer reading program with special events and prizes for books read, a mothers’ morning out program, afternoon clubs and activities, as well as an adult lecture series with subjects ranging from home exchange, finance, and nutrition to parenting. We’ve also scheduled an author reading/signing evening for next fall.

We can’t provide these services, however, if the library isn’t open.

Reading and education go hand in hand and are avenues to broader horizons and vibrant communities. I need your help to keep our library going strong in our community. I need you to continue financially supporting the library.

Thank you for your consideration.