In over 19 years living in Emery County, it seems that almost every year we are faced with trying to keep services that are a valuable part of our communities. It seems our museum, libraries, senior centers are always on the cutting block.
Once again, it seems that the talk is about cutting our libraries. Comment was made that libraries are no longer necessary because the wave is “hand-held-devices.” Our libraries are more than just “check-out” book places. They provide a place where citizens of all ages and even visitors to the area can use technology, socialize, learn a new hobby or skill, do research, and, yes, check out a book. Not everyone has the means to have electronic devices. Our libraries provide a safe, fun, learning environment for our youth. I have personally watched children of all ages involved in the peer-to-peer reading program go from almost non-existent ability to read to within a few weeks beginning to read on their own and even help others to read. Our libraries are a place where many of our middle/high school students go after school to do homework and the staff at these libraries are helping these students. They provide activities for children to learn and have hands-on experience with subjects from science to the arts. They provide an opportunity for many of the county citizens to participate in book clubs and art programs. They provide an opportunity for young mothers and fathers to get together with other young parents while they bring their little ones to participate in “story time.” I can go on and on the good things I have seen happening in our county libraries.
I challenge those who want to do away with our libraries to take the time to come and participate in an event at one of the libraries. See the kids excited about learning new things. You might even learn something new. I know I have. Our libraries are more than just checking out a book. They are an important part of life in our communities.
I must also throw in that since living in Emery County, it seems a continuous thing that our cities and county are expending funds ($10,000 always seems to be the magic number for such services) to bring in outsiders to assess what we need here. I may be wrong but I cannot in almost 20 years recall one time when as a citizen I was asked what I thought was needed. For example, county funds were spent on hiring an individual to assess what we needed to attract visitors and new industry to the county. It was interesting that this hired company came up with the same thing I have heard locals say for years – hotels, restaurants, housing, etc. This was several years ago and still have seen nothing really happening.
I understand that funds are limited, but maybe a closer look at what is being spent frivolously in other areas could be an option to keep these vital services going. Talk to the citizens – they have some great ideas that should be listened to.
One person’s opinion.
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