I thought you all might like to read the letter I mailed to President Obama yesterday
Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on your fabulous address to the joint session of Congress last evening. I thought your remarks were eloquent, heartfelt and truthful. I am hopeful that your positions on health care and the economy will bring about the change our country needs.
One particular statement that you made has prompted me to write this letter. You said that Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from Dillon, South Carolina, went to the public library and typed a letter to Congress. I think that it’s admirable that this young girl took the time to do that but what makes me truly proud is that she used the resources of the public library to do it.
Public libraries are so important to the citizens of this country. They are a critical part of the communities they serve not only for books, newspapers and magazines but for movies and free Internet access and computer usage. The librarians who work there offer programs to help people write resumes and find jobs, they proctor exams for people taking correspondence courses, and they direct people to the answers they seek and the resources they need.
And yet, when money becomes tight, public libraries are often the first institutions to face budget cuts. For the first time in my 15 years as a public library director I am facing budget cuts that will force me to layoff employees. I am being asked to reduce the hours the library is open and some members of the finance committee have even suggested that the library be closed completely. Where will a young girl like Ty’Sheoma Bethea go should that happen?
I know that you believe in the importance of education, Mr. President. And I know you understand that education doesn’t end when someone graduates from high school or college or graduate school. I fervently hope that you also know that the public library is the only place that all Americans can go to educate themselves for a lifetime. We serve the elderly and we serve students. We provide curriculum for home schoolers and a warm place to spend the day for those who are cold. We are here for everyone and for a lifetime of learning. We’d like to keep it that way.
Thank you for your time.