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Libraries are essential

Thank you for your front page story on the Hampden Library in your issue of June 26.

A thriving public library in Hampden is an essential component to all communities throughout our nation and the world. That's why we in Wilbraham are celebrating along with the people in Hampden.

Debbie Gardner's opening statement reads "...readers in Hampden once again have a place to get their book fix."

While reading books is certainly the cornerstone of educational, social and economic well-being, it is incumbent upon us members of the library community (library trustee for 32+ years) that we all tell the entire library story.

So we hope that The Reminder, who reaches readers in a number of communities, will help us to tell the library story in everyday, mundane and down-to-earth terms:

The public library is the only institution that effectively provides to all citizens of all ages lifelong learning necessary to the quality of life for all communities.

The public library provides a convenient, reliable and economic resource for continuing education, an essential component for the stability of our economy, as we face stiff competition in a world economy.

The public library is an integral and essential part of public education K-12. Public education begins at your public library with preschool story timea vital and effective preparation for our children to learn to read in public kindergarten. Public library support for public education continues through high school.

While everyone thought that improving computer technology and access to the worldwide Internet would result in less need for public libraries...the exact opposite has happened! There has been an explosive growth in the library programs and services fueled by demand from library customers, for more and different programs and services, resulting from the improving technology and access to the worldwide Internet.

The public library is now at the very cutting edge of information technology. Effective use of the Internet requires knowledge of how to use the hardware components, software programs, and online resources. The public library's professional staff provides thorough support for library patrons who search the Internet for information.

The public library is a meeting place for citizens of all ages, as indicated by the success of Hampden's book swap program, and is also an excellent meeting place for the community civic organizations, town committees and clubs.

The public library provides economical and enriching entertainment for all ages.

All of this is provided at very little cost, less than two cents on the state tax dollar, and approximately two cents on the local tax dollar.

We admire the courage of the Friends and the Trustees of the Hampden Library for opening the library on such a small budget. We are all confident that the Hampden Library will never close its doors again.

The print media provides a more comprehensive analytical dimension than any other media. So, as a member of the library community, we are grateful to The Reminder for helping us perform our most important responsibility...and that is to inform all citizens of the value and importance of public libraries.

Bill Massidda