Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Library Memories

To the Editor,

When I was a child, the Dayton Memorial Library was a place my friends and I were always welcome. My father, an avid reader and well-respected schoolteacher, often requested books from that library to read, for pleasure or as resources for his lessons. Like my friends, my father, and me, members of the whole community drew on that splendid resource to enrich our lives. If we couldn’t find something we needed, the librarian, Ms. Weatherford, would help us, thereby expanding the library’s usefulness. The same was true for my wife, who grew up in the Ballard section of Seatle and made use of her neighborhood’s public library. 

When I graduated from Dayton High School, I went on to graduate from Whitman College, and, after serving my country, to graduate school. After I got my PhD, I spent a long and fruitful career teaching at the Johnstown Campus of the University of Pittsburgh, so my life has been devoted to educating others, as were those of my father and mother, Clarence and Lula McNair. 

My successful educational career began in Dayton, and I owe a great deal of my success to time spent in that Public Library. For others, many of whom remained in or around Dayton, that library has continued to provide resources for self-betterment (books, periodicals, computers, etc.) that would not have otherwise been available to them. Now, a few sanctimonious inhabitants of the area, ignoring the benefits of the library to the entire community, are again seeking to impose their narrow and short-sighted values on everyone else by forcing the withdrawal of the library’s support. Shame on them! 

According to historian Jon Meacham, one of the most important lessons for citizens of our two-party dominated democracy in the United States is that each citizen loses about half the time, and civility demands that we all become good losers. The community has spoken and the courts have spoken, and yet I’m told that these self-righteous and self-appointed “guardians of democracy and the public good” are at it again. Perhaps, if they had spent more time in the library, they would have learned Meacham’s important lesson.

Dennis M. McNair PhD

Johnstown, Penn.


Reader Comments(0)