12/28/07 — Next chapter: Patrons want library system ready for the future

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Next chapter: Patrons want library system ready for the future

Wayne County has spoken.

Residents want a main library and branches with more programs and materials and more room.

They want to be able to use the Internet and to enjoy a good book all in the same building with enough room for all patrons to get the information they need in a relaxing atmosphere.

And they want to able to use their libraries to learn more, to find the information they need to improve their daily lives and to better educate their children.

So says the Wayne County Public Library’s recent survey of patrons.

In an effort to make plans for the county library system’s future, the library’s board of directors approved polling residents and asking them what they would like to see at their libraries.

And they found out that residents think they are doing a good job with what they have, but they want to see more.

And that is good. A first-class library system is a sign of an up-and-coming community with vision and possibilities for future growth.

Libraries are also linchpins in the educational process offering support for schools looking to challenge students to expand their knowledge base, and offering programs for adults who want to continue learning.

But the question is now, if we need more resources and facilities, are we willing to invest in the materials and infrastructure that are necessary to develop a first-class library facility.

The answer should be decidedly “yes.”

Libraries open doors to all sorts of learning and give people of all backgrounds and means the chance to explore their past, maximize their present and build on their future.

For some children, a library is a gateway to reading and research, a chance to explore and grow at no charge.

A strong library is a perfect accompaniment to a successful school system and a sign companies look for when determining the vitality of a community and the quality of the available work force.

So while county leaders are planning for more jail and refurbished county office space, they should also be setting aside funds for library development and expansion.

If we could offer more of that latter, perhaps we could give people the resources to avoid the choices that lead to the need for more jail cells and social services.

Perhaps we could help more of them build futures.

Now is the time to think about priorities — and upgrading our libraries should be among the very top items on our future wish list — especially if we want Wayne County to continue to be a contender in the race for future development dollars.

Published in Editorials on December 28, 2007 11:30 AM