08/03/07 — Rediscover books: Public input speaks volumes for future of library system

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Rediscover books: Public input speaks volumes for future of library system

The Wayne County Public Library is in the midst of a renovation of sorts.

Director Jane Rustin and her staff have asked community members to join with them to create a new direction for the future.

Their plan will probably include some acknowledgement of the new world of information as well as the interests of the next generation — and how to get them back to the books while still acknowledging their fascination with everything Internet.

And as important as the opinions of those on the committee might be, there is a critical component to helping this county develop the kind of library system it needs.


If you have an idea or two about what you would like to see at your public library or some advice on how to attract young people back to the stacks while including more programs with a technology focus, send them Ms. Rustin’s way. She will listen.

Libraries have always been critical bellwethers to the intellectual health of a community. An active library with lots of resources and programs shows that a community has an active interest in improving itself. Keeping that resource flourishing is vital. Wayne County has a good start, but lots of room for growth. This is the time to start thinking about the next step.

Also, libraries are places for young people to dream. Those who do not have access to tons of information in their homes can head to the library for help with a paper or to discover a new friend with whom they can explore a new world. Many a young person who did not know where to go has found a future in a book. We need to make sure that sort of exploration and empowerment are encouraged.

And that brings us to a bit of advice for those who are shaping the direction of the library system: Don’t succumb completely to the lure of the Internet.

Many children these days are so video- and Web-focused they do not even know that some of the movies they see now were once books.

Reintroducing this generation to reading takes more than one person’s preaching. It takes a community dedicated to sharing that pleasure with a whole new generation.

So, while we are dreaming of a new library system, let’s brainstorm on how to make going to the library cool again — and redouble our efforts to encourage children to pick up a book.

Have an idea on how to get kids back to the library? Send that, too.

Ms. Rustin won’t be grading your grammar or broadcasting your comments. She just wants to give you the best library possible. You never know, you just might have an idea that will really make a difference.

And if you do not currently use the library, stop by sometime, just to see what’s available. You just might be surprised at what you find — right down the road.

Published in Editorials on August 3, 2007 11:11 AM