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Library — a beacon of help and hope, even more so when times are tough | Letters
— Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. — Groucho Marx
[Democracy] is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere — E. B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web.
When times are hard in America, people turn to those institutions that welcome them with open arms and provide them with practical help as well as the sense that civilization, civility, and community still exist.
Indeed, during the Great Depression, libraries thrived. It has been said that "Libraries will get you through times with no money better than money will get you through times with no libraries."
Several community members have recently opined that the library is nothing more than another family on the island and should simply tighten its metaphorical belt as its resources dwindle.
But this is the wrong metaphor.
The library is a beacon of help and hope, not just another family. It exists to serve the minds and hearts of all the families on the island. It does not take from the Island, it gives in abundance.
When we starve the library, we are starving ourselves and our children. What other institution welcomes us all, seven days a week, provides us freely with information, recreation, education, public spaces for meetings, programs, access to local culture, and, yes, help with job searches and computer access?
Now the library has come to the families it serves and, for the first time in eighteen years, asks those families for help in continuing to serve them. As we mark our ballots this week and next, we must ask ourselves whether we truly want to begin letting go of those institutions that bind American democracy.
Vote "Yes" for Proposition No. 1 and keep our library strong.
Martha M. Scott
San Juan Island