Fund the libraries

01/25/2007
The Valley is lucky enough to have three libraries at close hand and another in Waterbury. The Warren, Waitsfield and Moretown Libraries are important community assets - not just to those who live in each town but to all who use the libraries.

Libraries are not just community gathering places, although they are assuredly that. They host book clubs, geology discussions, story hours, guest speakers, special events and more. Increasingly, in our towns, libraries are becoming internet access centers for visitors and residents without access to a computer.

This is apparent in Warren and Waitsfield where seasonal ski area workers are frequently found checking their email at the local libraries, and seen in the summer when those libraries become the de facto internet access center for summer visitors who are traveling without a computer.

And, of course, libraries provide access to thousands of books, plus a world of other books through interlibrary loans. Libraries provide access to resources and information equally to all.

Libraries are among the places in communities where people can cross paths and mingle with their neighbors while they wait for the computer, for a book, for story hour, etc. Anything that increases our connectedness and interaction is good and increases our sense of ownership and responsibility for these resources.

The work that is being done now in Warren, seeking more space for the town library as part of a not-yet-completed masterplan for municipal space, is critical to the future of Warren Village.

The effort in Moretown to rejuvenate a historic gem of a library in the heart of the village is an incredible citizen/grass root initiative led by people willing to put their money and time where their mouths are. These efforts deserve local support of the moral and financial kind, but they also need support at the state level.
Forty-four states in the nation provide direct state funding for libraries. Vermont is one of the states that do not provide any funding. The legislature has received a proposal calling for earmarking $1.6 million for Vermont public libraries. That proposal deserves the support of our local legislators.

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