Letter: Libraries play vital role in community

To the editor:

Everyone loves libraries, but libraries can’t live on love alone. Whether it’s for storytimes, job information for the unemployed, vital health care facts, online access, finding scholarships, planning travel, becoming a citizen or simply curling up with a good novel, each library in America serves a wide range of needs in the information age.

Far too often, funding priorities for libraries have not reflected their demonstrated value and service successes to the communities they serve. Despite this, there are few Americans who don’t clearly understand the value provided by their public libraries.

Public libraries are among the most effective of all public services, serving more than two-thirds of the public with less than 2 percent of all tax dollars. What’s more, they are an important part of the solution to the problems facing us from unemployment to staying up to date on changing world events.

Libraries are a public good. Libraries enrich both the 67 percent of the public that regularly uses them each year, as well as the rest of the community that benefits from what those users have learned.

The beauty and strength of America’s libraries is that they’re distinctive institutions that meet the unique needs of the communities they serve. Shawano City-County Library’s collection was selected and organized to meet our community needs. The free programs for children, teens, and adults have largely been planned around community member feedback and suggestions. Nearly half of our county’s population hold library cards; are you one of them?

Kristie Hauer

Library Director

Shawano City-County Library