2018 – 2019 President’s Letter

There was recently a firestorm on the Internet after Forbes magazine ran an editorial, which stated that Amazon bookstores could replace libraries and save taxpayer money. A few of the comments follow…
“Aren’t you an economist? You don’t see a place where people of all ages can acquire skills, apply for jobs, create and access knowledge. AS AN INVESTMENT? One that could actually have economic returns?”
“Amazon doesn’t offer local knowledge.”
“Amazon doesn’t offer a hands-on experience- a treasure trove of tactile learning, and a buffet of books, puzzles and experiences for little kids to explore with their own hands and eyes.”
“Libraries are the last public spaces in America where there is no pay to play. They are the people’s universities.”
“Small businesses launch from libraries.”
“Libraries make our communities stronger.”
“My family saved around $3,000 this year by checking out books and audiobooks.”
“ Libraries aren’t driven by best seller lists. There driven by providing information to people, in many formats.”
“Public libraries are this thing called THE COMMON GOOD. It’s what humanity does to advance civilization. Go support your public library. Shelve books. Read to a child. Help someone find a book.”

The article was pulled from the Forbes website, and another was uploaded. Written by an astrophysicist, Brian Koberlein, it speaks of his childhood experiences in the local library, and talks about how he felt when he returned years later as an adult to give a talk on the solar eclipse. He talked about the children who had come. When it was time for the talk, the children were in the front rows. They asked questions. They knew they could because this was their library. And even if they were only nine years old they heard the same message every time they walked through the door. “Welcome to the Library. Here you are part of our community. Here you have standing.”

These reasons, and more, are why library lovers join Friends groups. They are also why people volunteer for Friends boards, do committee work, and make donations. We know how wonderful and vital libraries remain, even in the age of the Internet, and even if we don’t always have the words to explain.