Libraries are a great read and a free ride - for some
We all hear the rhetoric on a daily basis these days - "In these hard times, we all have to watch our spending, cut back and above all, stick close to home in order to save gas...."...
We all hear the rhetoric on a daily basis these days - "In these hard times, we all have to watch our spending, cut back and above all, stick close to home in order to save gas...."
And as monotonous as it may seem, it's a cold, cruel dose of reality that's hit home in a very big way.
It stands to reason, therefore, that our local public libraries are one of the best bargains around, especially in these times. Not only do they provide books, magazines and videos for our reading pleasure and intellectual development, but family programming, computer technology and community resources close to home. And the price tag to individual users - absolutely free.
Many adults will attest that visits to the library were practically a rite of passage as they were growing up, encouraging young people to travel worlds of their own making, buried in books about whatever strikes their personal fancy.
A trip to the library has always been a time of family bonding, a chance for every member to spread his or her individual wings and explore exotic worlds within a safe and nurturing environment.
What's more, a library is the proverbial "gift that keeps on giving" because family members of all ages can take books home with them at their leisure, guaranteeing many more hours and days of "at home entertainment."
In fact, the local libraries in our county fulfill pretty much all of the guidelines we've set forth for ourselves in adapting to these tough economic times - but most have fallen on tough economic times themselves.
This week, the city of Cloquet appealed to members of the Carlton County Board to consider providing a portion of financial support for the Cloquet Public Library, since 40 percent of those who use it are from outside the city of Cloquet and don't pay taxes here.
It seems a logical request in light of the generous return for the residents of our county. Let's hope commissioners will take it to heart during their upcoming budget sessions.