Thursday, February 26, 2015

Here's one for the community clubhouse

The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community.

–Paula Poundstone

Of late, many library members and Facebook fans have been receiving requests for letters of support for the John Trigg Ester Library's capital proposal to the legislature. As members, you all have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to opinion or action. You can even ignore the project, focus on other things in your lives, etc. But what is a library truly worth? And why should you support building a "raucous clubhouse"?

Well, here's what some notable people have thought about the value of libraries:
With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one—but no one at all—can tell you what to read and when and how.
—Doris Lessing
Cutting libraries during a recession is like cutting hospitals during a plague.
—Eleanor Crumblehulme 
What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it feels about education.
—Harold Howe  
What is more important in a library than anything else—than everything else—is the fact that it exists.
—Archibald MacLeish

As board members, it is our role to bring the vision of the Ester library to reality in a timely and fiscally responsible fashion. Even if our attempt to gain an appropriation from the Alaska Legislature fails this year, the support we gain will bolster our attempt next year. The JTEL can provide a strong example of thrifty, far-seeing northern-appropriate public construction of the kind that should be supported by the legislature and business. And letters can always be aimed and used for other proposals that we will be crafting and sending to other funders. So please—write a letter of support. Thank you.

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