06/11/10 — Library value: Communities need to take care of their libraries

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Library value: Communities need to take care of their libraries

It seems like a no-brainer, really, that a library would be considered a vital part of a community, but it is surprising how easy it is for some officials to lessen their importance and to look there first for cuts.

Libraries sometimes are thought of as outmoded and not nearly as critical to the landscape as they once were. After all, this is the digital age.

But with all the recent news about the number of children and adults who do not have the reading skills they need, the libraries are one of the last places officials should be looking to shore up the budget.

In fact, more money should be spent to encourage use of libraries and to get more children reading.

This week, Wayne County got news that there will be more money spent at the Wayne Community College facility to expand its collection.

And that is a good sign.

But as the county continues to battle budget shortfalls and other challenges, it could be tempting to look to the library for cuts. And that would be a big mistake.

What would be a better idea is to form a new initiative -- a multi-disciplinary push to get more children in the county's libraries and more programs in place to put more library cards and books in the hands of county children and adults.

Let's face it -- adults and children who are functionally illiterate cannot survive in this world, no matter how well they click a mouse.

It is a consequence we should consider before we decide where to invest our tax dollars.

Published in Editorials on June 11, 2010 11:00 AM