Library is bedrock of community
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.