Explore the world; explore your mind. What better place to experience those stimulating adventures than at your local public library, the soul of your home town. (I am not using “soul” in its technical sense as the totality of the human being, but in the sense of its being the centre, the focal point, the place where great ideas are generated and young and old minds are inspired to reach for new and expanding horizons, a place where minds can at last believe that limits are self-created.)
So folks, it’s story time. And story time means book time. And books mean library. And library means what’s going to happen to our library? Will we get a new library? Will we scrap the idea of a new facility and stick with the old, deteriorating structure demanding continuing yeoman service from our long-suffering, patient staff whose duties, I have recently learned, go way beyond what even you might expect of library staff?
This is the story: it’s all up to you – and you, and you. Really, what you get is what you pay for. Decision time is coming in October which is coming real soon.
Maybe we need a refresher course on the thinking behind the discussion. Why are we taking the time to debate spending more of your money to erect another new building in town? Haven’t we just completed and occupied a new Chetwynd Primary Care Clinic and a new District Centre? Isn’t that a big enough bite out of our tax dollars? Maybe it is time to be responsible? Maybe it is.
But let me refresh your memory: the plan behind the clinic was to fund it through occupancy fees. The plan is working. The total cost of the building is covered by the occupant. No bite on your wallet. I’d say that plan was responsible.
As for the District Centre, the promise was made more than 30 years ago under the guidance of Mayor Lasser to build a new town hall. Under the direction of Mayor Saugstad a plan for financing it was put in place about ten years ago and little by little the funds were assembled until we had enough to bring all the building components together in a coherent, and, I will add, beautiful, trend-setting structure. No bite on your personal finance. I’d say that was responsible action.
True, the dollars saved to build the District Centre were not spent on street paving and sewer replacement. But tell me now that you would like to go back to the trailers.
Truer still, the new library, if it comes to fruition, will make a small dent in your annual personal finance payable at the end of June each year, a dent that you will have voted to sustain. You will have voted to tax yourself to ensure the future of your children for several generations.
Sadly, I am at the stage in my life at which I cannot expect to experience the new library’s stimulating influence for a lot of years. My children, who grew up on books and continue to feed on books, have all moved on to sample the libraries of other jurisdictions so I won’t have a personal stake in the decision we will make in October. But as long as I am here and above the turf I willingly will tax myself to fund the library we are proposing to build here.
Let me share with you a mundane detail that I learned just hours ago: our librarians use books for more that entertainment and mind stimulation; they have become a part of the temperature-regulating system. When it gets too hot, place books over the registers. When it gets too cold, take books off. How clever and innovative! Did they learn that technique from a book?
As for ice on the windows: do not in frustration bite fingernails; save them to scratch the ice from the glass.
Of course, we could renovate; renovations are frequently feasible and cost effective. Renovation has been considered up one side and down the other – and priced. Three-quarters million would remedy some of the defects but we would still have an old, inadequate building. In the long-drawn-out debates many suggested solutions have been considered. From a cost-benefit point of view, the new facility seems to be the most responsible solution.
You’ve been reading my opinions. What else could I write? By voting time you will have been given enough information to establish your own opinions as a basis for your own responsible decision.
The soul of your community needs you. Your children’s future hinges on the solid intellectual, physical, and moral foundation you provide. Your public library, funded by your choice will indicate the importance you place in your child’s development.
Oh, by the way: “Once upon a time there were two sheep [sitting in a library]
“‘Baa-aa-aaa,’ said the first sheep’ [quietly].
“‘Mooooo,’ said the second sheep’ [ever so quietly]
“‘What do you mean, ‘Mooooo’? [whispered] the first sheep.’
“And the second sheep said: ‘I am studying a foreign language’” (Sam Levenson, You Don’t Have to Be in Who’s Who to Know What’s What, Simon & Schuster).
Merlin Nichols - Mayor of Chetwynd