Public libraries: ‘I’d be worse off without them’


Editor:

A public library is the single most important asset to any community. In Preble County, we are lucky enough to have a library in every incorporated municipality. In many of these communities, the library is the only public place for children, teens, and adults.

Our libraries provide books, movies, music, and information to anyone and everyone, regardless of age, socioeconomic status, or political persuasion. Of all the public places I’ve been where social anxiety has set in, I’ve never been in a public library and felt anything less than completely welcome. Libraries provide more than books and digital discs. They provide a safe place for everyone to study, find entertainment, or catch up on the news.

In the light of declining funds from the State of Ohio, which previously funded public libraries extremely well, many libraries in the state have had to ask local taxpayers for support. In some ways, that’s negative, but in other ways, it’s a positive. It gives the local voters the opportunity to voice how important their local libraries are, all for only a few dollars a month. Preble County voters did that in 2010, with an approval of two measures: in Lewisburg, a levy for the Brown Memorial Library, and a levy across the county for the Preble County District Library, which operates eight locations.

This year, every voter in Preble County has the chance to support public libraries. Perhaps my opinion holds less water, because I’m an employee of the Preble County District Library, but I assure you that my admiration of the library as an institution runs much deeper. I can’t say for certain where I’d be right now were it not for public libraries throughout my childhood and into my adult life. But I know, without a doubt, I’d be worse off without them.

If you agree with me, vote yes on Issue 27, a renewal of Preble County District Library’s one-mill levy, which funds the libraries in Camden, Eaton, Eldorado, New Paris, West Alexandria, West Elkton, and West Manchester. I encourage voters in Gratis to fund their library on Issue 20, and in Lewisburg, voters can renew support for their library with a yes vote on Issue 21.

I hope everyone who shares my sentiment on libraries gets out to vote yes on Issues 20, 21, and 27.

Michael Zimmerman

Camden

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