Library budgets are often the first cut, should be last
Recently, my friend and I saw “Beautiful Creatures,” an engaging movie with solid performances by Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson.
The protagonist is a young man living in a very small Southern town whose mother has died. The character practically lives in the library. Why? His mother told him that he will find other worlds, histories and ideas in reading books. She wants him prepared to live a bigger life than she had. He knows more history, more poetry, more thoughtful ideas than most of his peers.
When a young girl moves in with her uncle, she also reads many books, but of another kind. As you might expect, they are drawn to each other. They often meet in the library as a safe place to socialize.
As a former teacher, I was thrilled that the characters in this story were reading and going to the library to socialize. In spite of the time young people spend reading tweets or messages from others, great lessons are probably not learned. Whether XYZ is wearing a blue sweater instead of a green one is not life-changing.
However, there are many books online or in the library that can be life-changing: books that tell of others working through similar problems; books that challenge us to see above the limited horizons of our present lives; books that inspire us to help others. Books do so much for us. They teach us, console us, entertain us. And now they are in danger of being less available to us and to our children. In addition to their books and other materials, libraries are safe places to meet and learn.
This letter is not an argument for or against the written word vs. the digital word. It is a plea to speak up for our libraries, both public and school. In articles about local school budgets, school librarians are often on the list of cuts. Librarians are people who love books and can instill that love in children, especially young ones. Reading is fundamental to success in life, even in our modern, computerized times; just ask those who can’t read well.
We are blessed in Scotia to have our own unique library. This also is a meeting place and learning place, in addition to being a “get a book” place.
Please tell your local officials that we need our libraries — both public and school — to stay open and be manned by trained librarians. Write them, e-mail them, tweet them or visit them now. Let your message be clear: We need our libraries. Don’t wait until the sign on the door says “closed.”
Don’t let nonresidents serve on city energy board
I would like to commend [Schenectady] City Council President Peggy King for her continued efforts to reach out to the neighborhood associations.
King brought the issue to the forefront at the March 4 committee meeting. As president of the Central State Street Neighborhood Association, I welcome the involvement of elected city representatives and officials to our meetings.
Mayor Gary McCarthy, on the other hand, presented his appointees for the city’s Energy Advisory Board to the council for its approval at the committee meeting. The Energy Advisory Board consists of nine members. At least two of the mayor’s appointees don’t live in the city! One appointee lives in Scotia while another lives in Niskayuna.
The mayor commented that he would like to see everyone live in the city. I don’t have as high expectations as the mayor, I would just like to see city employees, city officials and appointees to city boards live in the city! And the council should not confirm these appointments.
In my involvement in the city, I know there are qualified city residents who could serve on this board. I would urge the mayor to trust that city residents could and would serve their city well.
Linda L. Kelleher
Editor’s note: The City Council did in fact confirm the appointments at its March 11 meeting.
Sinister forces causing birds’ disappearance?
We are also missing our birds (March 5 letter, March 12 response)! Our backyard here in Delanson is usually teeming with birds this time of year, but for the last couple of months, hardly any.
We have consumed only about one-fourth of our normal annual black oil sunflower seed, and most of that was in the early winter and late fall. Suet consumption is the same. A few turkeys wander by occasionally, but they don’t stay because there is no spillage from the feeder. The squirrels are also missing, probably for the same reason.
Can’t help but think about the old coal miner’s practice of taking a caged canary into the mine; if the canary died, it was time to get out.
Is it the environment, the weather, Obamacare, sequestering? Time for some real investigative reporting, I think!
The headline of a letter yesterday misidentified Michelle Van Woeart, who last October was removed from her appointed position by the Princetown Town Board. She was not town clerk, but court clerk.
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