Letter: Push for new library must continue
I feel compelled to write a response to the commissioner's open meeting on Nov. 13 regarding the proposed library project. First, we would like to thank all of those who attended the meeting and those who expressed their views. We appreciate your responses.
The information in the paper, on Dec. 7 and those quoted at the meeting on Nov. 13, does not give the whole picture about our library. The numbers given about the patrons going through the library in one week or one day does not accurately tell the story. First off, the numbers quoted were for only one week of the year; what about the other 51 weeks? We all know the numbers go down during a holiday season due to the many community activities patrons and their families are involved in. The numbers of requests for materials, research etc. are not counted in this, so actually the numbers would be much higher if they were included.
During the first six months of 2012, NCL "lent" or shared 7,769 items. This fall the numbers will be higher, since our library was placed at the top of the list for the great service and willingness to share throughout the PCLS. Nobles County Library has the highest number of materials shared with patrons across the PCLS. Our libraries in the county have a great reputation for providing this service. Adrian Library does a phenomenal job with providing this service, too. They filled 2,919 request on holds in the six months we are focusing on. This could only happen because of the great dedicated staff we have in place in both locations.
It was also brought to our attention about outlying communities and their use of the library. I would like to point out that they have just as much access as those people living right in Worthington. Just because a patron doesn't walk through the door does not mean they do not use either library facility.
We are well aware of the changes libraries are taking, and those involved in planning this project are taking that into account. I agree with the ideas expressed at the Nov. 13 open meeting that we need to plan for what we "need" -- use common sense and plan for the future, should the needs and goals for our library change. Have an open plan that can be adapted to future needs; this is not a project for this date and time, this is a project that should meet the needs of our patrons for 15-20 years down the road. If you average out the cost of this library over that number of years, what would it cost per year? Wouldn't that be a good investment in our community and in our children?
One of our library board members' and a teacher in this school system expressed concern about the "brain drain" in our community. This person had attended meetings on this topic. One thing we need to do is address that issue and step up. Do we really value our children and want to invest in their future? Where are our values?
I leave you with a quote from Calvin Coolidge, "We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once."