Libraries have a far-reaching, long-term impact
Libraries provide invaluable services to communities, and we are lucky in Haywood to have four branches throughout the county with dedicated staff and volunteers to make it possible.
The library seems to be managing its resources effectively and is doing its due diligence to keep up with the ever-changing technology. Staff realizes that the demand for print books has decreased and digital books for electronic readers are the way of the future.
A library’s mission is to honor Americans’ right to intellectual freedom by providing free and equal access to information for all people. Our libraries have done a good job of adapting with the changes to continue offering that access.
Many of the services offered through the library system can be used online, including free music and book downloads, magazines and many other tools. The library also has 66 computers to make sure all residents have access to Internet service to look for a job, do homework research or print off important documents.
As far as technology has come, there are still residents who can’t afford Internet service or don’t have access to Internet service in rural parts of the county. Libraries are crucial in those people’s lives.
Let’s not forget how important reading is to our society. Reading improves vocabulary, critical thinking skills, imagination, memory, writing skills and even reduces stress. But it seems like younger generations spend more time on a computer or a Smartphone than they do reading a good book. Haywood libraries also work to encourage children to enjoy reading through more than 100 programs for children of all ages.
Government budgets are tight and the county has had to cut more than $138,000 from the library budget since 2007-08, according to the state library website. Of course we understand mandatory services, like emergency services, will always be a first priority, but we hope commissioners will continue to value library services and consider the long view when it comes to our county’s excellent system.