Li­brary is bedrock of com­mu­nity

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

FROM: KENNARD WIG­GINS JR. ELK­TON

Repub­li­can Ce­cil County Coun­cil can­di­date Tom Cole has taken a crit­i­cal stand against our pub­lic li­braries. He said, “Li­braries are be­com­ing less and less uti­lized as we have more in­ter­net.” Mr. Cole added, “...they need to of­fer ba­sic li­brary ser­vices in fa­cil­i­ties that do not need frills.”

His words are at at odds with the facts.

Our na­tion­ally rec­og­nized, award­win­ning pub­lic li­brary sys­tem is more pop­u­lar than ever be­fore, ac­cord­ing to us­age met­rics. More than half of our cit­i­zens are ac­tive li­brary users, some 62,000 in our county. Ce­cil County Pub­lic Li­brary cir­cu­lated over 1 mil­lion items last year. Cit­i­zens vis­ited our li­braries over a half mil­lion times, many of them to uti­lize the in­ter­net ser- vices the li­brary pro­vides, which they can­not ac­cess at home. About 42,000 at­tended a class, a meet­ing or a pre­sen­ta­tion at the li­brary.

Pub­lic li­braries are deemed an essen­tial ser­vice by 68 per­cent of Mary­lan­ders and rated higher than any other pub­lic ser­vice. Our li­braries are an eco­nomic growth en­gine, a source of life­long learn­ing, and a booster for chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion, a re­source for our vet­er­ans, a place to start a small busi­ness, or to gain job skills. Li­braries are a vi­tal cen­ter for the com­mu­nity. They are de­signed to serve the pub­lic in ac­cor­dance with the county’s Strate­gic Plan, de­vel­oped by the county ex­ec­u­tive and ap­proved by the coun­cil.

I hope Mr. Cole will take some time to visit our li­braries, talk to the staff, take a look at the an­nual re­port, or visit the li­brary web­site at http://www.ce­cil.ebranch.info/ I’m sure he will be re­warded and en­light­ened by even the most ca­sual en­counter with this na­tional award­win­ning in­sti­tu­tion.

Kennard Wig­gins Jr. in the chair­man of the Ce­cil County Li­brary Board of Trustees.

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