Libraries are community treasures | Guest Column

I’m writing to encourage anyone who hasn’t made up their mind to vote “Yes” for the library. Here’s why.

As a former teacher who values education and LIFE-long learning, libraries are community treasures. I have fond memories of spending one long summer camped on the couch of our public library reading the entire Nancy Drew mysteries series. Even as a bit of a rebellious teen who sometimes skipped school, you could find me at the lake with a book in hand.

While times and technology have changed, libraries have to keep up. One thing hasn’t changed though. Libraries build community. Here, you can check out that newest book, find a quiet spot to peruse a daily newspaper, enjoy a magazine, borrow videos or music, participate in children’s storytime events, or surf the net on a library computer. Libraries are where you can expand your mind, relax, and experience community in a positive way.

When I moved to San Juan Island in 2009, one of the first things I did was get library cards for myself and my daughter. We volunteered as Reading Buddies for children needing a partner to practice reading. In doing so, we met and became friends with the family of our reading buddies. I have watched these children grow up and become wonderful young adults.

Our library offers many valuable programs. Dedicated community members have volunteered their expertise and time, contributing to library events like after-school arts and crafts, toddler time, and a myriad of adult community education events. These bring all who participate a sense of community and belonging. The monthly calendar features programs like Tech Café, After School Movies or Art Bar, Baby Toddler Time, Trivia, Teen Library Council, Tween Karaoke Night, Know Your Islanders, Music Story Time, and more.

I am disappointed to see the anti-library sentiment, especially those spending money campaigning AGAINST the library, spreading inaccurate information about the cost, including the large, new (100K) truck with a giant “Say NO to the Library” sign adhered to the front grill. I have to ask, “Are you against education?” Because the actual cost to property owners is not what you are making it out to be.

I calculated how the bond will affect me or other homeowners and offer this estimation. For a home with assessed value of $500K, the bond will add about $88/year, totaling $19.83 a month. For this, you can use the internet, access public computers, read books, newspapers, magazines, enjoy a multitude of educational programs, and more. My monthly TV streaming fee is at least this much, about equal to two beers or lattes at any local dining establishment.

I also calculated the cost for the 1.2 million-dollar house of someone who opposes the levy. It adds about $8.41 per month to a current levy of $30.59 per month. Don’t think for a minute he can’t afford it!

Please vote “YES.” It is an investment in our community – for everyone!

Thank you, Cynthia Brast

San Juan Island