Support of the Dayton Rural Library
April 6, 2023
To the Editor;
Wow! Someone wants to defund and close the library. This is the best evidence yet of the necessity of the library in this community. Libraries are places of knowledge - and information we cannot always find within our families.
Libraries have become a place of technology, making computers, fax machines, and scanners available to those without the resources to personally own this technology. If you’ve applied for a job in the last couple of decades, you know applications are completed and sent online. So are government programs. Without a personal computer at home and the library closed, applying for these will be more difficult - 6% of households in Columbia County do not have computers per 2017-2021 census data.
Judy Blume, an author of many successful children’s and young adult books, said, “What are you protecting your children from? Protecting your children means educating them and arming them with knowledge, and reading and supporting what they want to read. No child is going to become transgender or gay or lesbian because they read a book. It’s not going to happen. They may say, ‘Oh, this is just like me. This is what I’m feeling and thinking about.’ Or, ‘I’m interested in this because I have friends who may be gay, bi, lesbian.’ They want to know.” I can’t say it any better than this.
Children, especially if they feel different from those around them, who can’t find literature with examples of life experience, can feel trapped. Perhaps they leave home as soon as they can, move to places more tolerant, or, worst, commit suicide.
I recently read the story of a man who grew up in Shelby, Montana (pop. 3,000). He recounted how he tried to commit suicide three times from the ages of 9-23. He couldn’t see a way out of those feelings of not fitting in – he just knew he was different – and not in a way accepted in that community. It wasn’t until he moved far away that he could get the perspective he needed to live safely.
If you don’t like the books in the library, don’t use it. Or monitor your children when they use the library. This is an aspect of freedom in this country – to use or not use a resource available to all. If you argue that you shouldn’t have to pay for a government organization you don’t use or that you don’t like, that excuse lacks validity. In Columbia County, 28.6% of the residents are 65 or older (per the census data noted above). Odds are they don’t have children in the schools but pay for the school district without a choice.
Libraries are necessary and an asset to a community. Let’s support ours unconditionally as we do our schools.