My name is Sarah Jenkins and I am a concerned Walker County citizen and voter. The recent issues that have come to light regarding the state of our library’s finances have been weighing heavy on my mind. Due to the current financial issues our library has been forced to cut its hours.
My main concern is for the children and adults who depend on our library. There are many people out of work with no way to provide activities for their families to enjoy. Our LaFayette library provides numerous benefits for these families and cutting the hours and funding is not the way to help our community.
These parents who are without work use the computers and the internet to apply for jobs. It has been brought to my attention that the Department of Labor is even sending the unemployed there to use the free services. If these people do not have access to the resources they cannot find jobs. The staff also works with people on resumes and computer literacy. Most jobs now require online applications so unemployed adults must know how to use a computer. The library hopes to be able to provide resume classes at some point after it moves into the new building. Currently there is such a large volume of people wanting help with computers, job applications and resumes that they may have to wait as much as 30 minutes for help. Currently the library is under-staffed and the people who would normally be attending to the needs of the people are working at the circulation desk.
As for the children, they depend on our library for learning. Low-income families who cannot afford computers and internet must get their children to our library to complete the research for school projects and homework. The internet is part of daily educational life.
These same children most of all benefit from the reading material that is available to them. If you are illiterate you cannot be a productive citizen. We should all strive to be productive citizens, though some are more productive than others. We should do whatever necessary to encourage adults and children alike to become productive citizens.
Being an avid reader myself, I am so hurt that we cannot make some changes and support our library better! It, along with its wonderful staff, has so much to offer. Not only have they offered educational opportunities through books and computers, they also offer family opportunities like summer reading and movie night to name a few. Our local Girl Scout troop (No. 40817) even enjoys using the library facilities and loved including movie night as a “fun” patch this year.
Cutting the hours is not the answer. We need to find the way to let the library best serve the public because that is what it is — the public library. It has so much to give and with special consideration of its services to the people of Walker County I believe you will see why we as a community need to support our library more.
I appreciate the chance for my voice to be heard and would love to answer any questions that you may have. For more information please contact Friends of the Library. We meet every 2nd Thursday of the month at the temporary location (old Food Lion) if you want to help.
Sarah H. Jenkins, concerned LaFayette citizen