To the editor:
Geneva needs a new library like a hole in the head. You know, like the holes we hear with, breathe with, and eat and drink with. In other words, we need it to stay alive.
What will it cost? If you live in a $300,000 home, about the same as a monthly Potbelly’s Wreck with double meat. The library’s meal, however, will cater to your taste and appetite for the entire month.
What could be on the menu? Millions of books, newspapers, magazines. Recorded books. Music CDs. DVDs. Free use of computers and the internet, plus access to conventional and 3-D printing. Tech space for STEM projects. Meeting rooms for book discussions and tutorials. Early literacy play areas. Equipment checkout. Outdoor reading/program areas and a commons area.
Oh, yeah, and a larger reference section where professional reference librarians help research that new career or your child’s term paper due next week.
Not to mention a drive-up drop-off spot and on-site parking.
If all the positives don’t sway you, consider this: The present library resembles a geriatric patient suffering from multiple degenerative diseases. Costly reconstruction won’t work due to infrastructure issues. The building’s landlocked, so forget additions. Operational costs continue to skyrocket. The elevator, along with heating and air-conditioning systems, are on life support. Time to pull the plug.
If you think a library functions only to hold books for a few addicted readers, consider this: Last year, 3,458 people joined reading clubs; 24,000 came to programs; computer log-ins topped 15,000; over 600,000 items were checked out; monthly visits averaged 22,000; and nearly 17,000 residents own library cards.
Worried about the value of your home? The price of a new library more than offsets its cost when considering what prospective homebuyers look for when checking out a town: Besides schools and doggie runs, a town’s library mirrors its community.
During a public hearing, I remember a library board member comparing today’s library to yesterday’s front porch, a communal place where the neighborhood gathers. I love that. I also see today’s library resembling a medieval cathedral; near the town’s center, it reflects the town’s soul.
If you didn’t get the Christmas present you wanted, give yourself the gift of education, entertainment and community by voting for the library referendum in April.
Pass the word – billions of them.