Librariesare a ‘great equalizer’ in today’s world

Published on Thu, Oct 26, 2006 by Debby Farmer

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Libraries are a ‘great equalizer’ in today’s world

By Debby Farmer

Keith Richards, best known as guitarist for the Rolling Stones, shows a philosophical side as he describes the importance of the public library in today’s society.

“When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully – the church which belongs to God, and the public library which belongs to you. The public library is a great equalizer.”

The Blaine Library serves young and old. The staff helps not only those who are blessed with wellness and prosperity, but the numerous others who face all kinds and degrees of adversity.

The Whatcom County Library System core values frame our daily service to all persons in the providing of free, convenient access to a diverse collection of resources that supports popular interests and lifelong learning.

The library assists and instructs all people in finding and evaluating the resources and information that they seek.

Further, it helps create environments that cultivate community connections among those people.

We face another year of a 1 percent cap on revenue increases, despite escalating numbers of new patrons and materials being checked out. The public internet demand intensifies and seating areas are becoming crowded. A recent after school program drew over 100 attendees, taking place in a room designed to accommodate 60. Library square footage is dreadfully shy of what it should be based on population served.

We are realizing results in the living out of our values, but approaching limits in how many more results we can logistically accommodate.
For two weeks, beginning October 23, library visitors will be asked to complete a survey that questions how we as a library are doing.

Results will be compiled and used in designing the next five year strategic plan for the Whatcom County Library System. Please help us help you by donating 10 minutes of your time. Also needed are a few volunteers to aid in administering the survey. Contact the library to sign up for this opportunity.

Unlike Ferndale, the Blaine Library has not been bestowed with an anonymous $1 million contribution toward a new library facility.
What we do have in Blaine is a supportive community that values its library. The residents appreciate the benefits this “great equalizer” brings to the local society.

They can also embrace future library plans for such things as computer literacy, ESL and job-hunting classes, and help envision creative ways in making these things happen.

If you are one of these people, and especially passionate about your library, then we invite you to join a preliminary committee that will be exploring expansion of the existing facility or a larger alternative elsewhere in the community. For more information, call 332-8146.