Straight Talk

What libraries do

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Letter to the Editor

Libraries are an important part of any community. In addition to books, they provide numerous other resources such as access to computers and Wi-Fi, puzzles, newspapers, and programs for the public. Library staff are always ready to assist with homework and help with computer literacy. Their unbiased collection of information and access to such information is important to the communities they serve.

The libraries within Macon County, for example, currently provide a very diverse collection of books and other media in order to include everyone’s interests in our community. Our librarians ensure equal and equitable access to the materials and programs at each location. The cooperation that occurs with the agreement between Macon County and the Fontana Regional Library (FRL) system ensures patrons of all backgrounds, education, socio-economic status, sexuality, color, etc., enjoy the freedom to read whatever they wish.

Sometimes, that information may offend another person, and it should! I would be surprised if there was not something within a library to offend every person in this country. Topics that may be “sexually explicit” or discuss the “occult” or even “health and wellness” are and should be available to everyone who wants to read about such things. It is a parent’s responsibility, obviously, to go with their child to the library and help them decide what is appropriate for their child’s age. This does not mean access should be limited for everyone else. 

Libraries, especially those in Macon County, are community hubs. People gather in these places to socialize, educate themselves, homeschool their children, and many other things. Access to these places and the information, and resources they contain are extremely important in a democracy, and necessary to the literacy and education of those living in rural areas.

The three libraries within Macon County are the heart of our community. It would be a disaster if we lost them due to restricted funding or a reduction in resources and staff simply because a few well-intentioned, but misguided folks want to “protect the children” out of fear.

With the FRL agreement currently under review, I feel I must ask the “etiquette teachers,” Christian Nationalists, and conspiracy theorists, “What, exactly, are you afraid of?”

Jennifer Germain, U.S. Army veteran