Our Opinion: In support of the library

Posted

When Manchester voters go to the ballot on March 7, they'll be asked if they support spending $221,900 to fund the Manchester Community Library.

Manchester voters should say "yes." And here's why.

The Manchester Community Library provides numerous public services that go way beyond books — services that educate and enrich residents of all ages and backgrounds.

The range of programming that the library offers for users of all ages and interests is impressive — art, music, film, history and literature, just to name a few.

In the past few months, visitors to the library have been able to hear from famed television producer Norman Lear in person, see classic films, hear talks on art history and urban planning, enjoy live classical musical performances and appreciate the work of Burr and Burton Academy student photographers.

That's only skimming the surface. A library membership is free if you're a Manchester resident. A perk: Access to museum passes to the Clark Art Institute, the Shelburne Museum, the Bennington Museum, Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center and Hildene, among others.

Not everyone has access to a computer or high-speed internet service. The library has both, and if you're a member they'll help you learn one-on-one how to use the technology, for free.

Not everyone can afford Netflix or a cable subscription, but the library has plenty of movies and TV shows that you can borrow and watch. (The popcorn is your responsibility).

If it's books you're after, they've got plenty of those, and in multiple formats — printed, e-books and in audio formats.

And if you live in town, all you need to do to get access to all of this is sign up for a library card.

Manchester is fortunate to have such a special resource. It's a credit to the community as a whole, and to private donors and to the taxpayers in particular, that this town has built and supported such an impressive institution. Not every town has a facility that's nearly as nice or as comprehensive.

We know that property taxpayers feel the pinch. And we know that budgeting is all about wants and needs.

But we believe that literacy, education and cultural enrichment are more than nice things that we can afford when times are good. They are essential to building healthy communities, and a worthwhile investment of taxpayer dollars.


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