Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Our public libraries

EDITOR:

The recent library ballot measure defeat and letters about our public library have made me think about why we have public libraries in the first place and the role that they play in our society. The public library is an institution that was handed down to us and when you’ve always had something, you sometimes forget why you need it. The hyper digital environment we live in today makes us think the public library is no longer relevant. I argue that this makes the library even more important.

The volume of information on the Internet is not an indicator of quality. In most cases, the highest quality and most valuable information is not free nor is it available via the WWW. It is the public library that provides all of us with free access to the best and most credible and authoritative information. If there are no public libraries where will we go to get reliable and authoritative information? If there are no librarians, who is going to help us find it?

Thomas Jefferson talked about the need for a democracy to be built on an informed and educated citizenry. Libraries protect and foster our freedom of speech and freedom of access. Libraries facilitate and ensure our intellectual freedom to both seek and receive or view information from all points of view without restriction or traceability, to have free access to all expressions of ideas through which all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored, and to hold, receive and disseminate ideas. Free speech and free access are an indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom.

Despite the ballot measure defeat, I am going to send $20 to the El Dorado County Library even though the assessment is not on my tax bill. If you are an El Dorado County resident reading this letter and you value free speech and free access for yourself and for others, if you do not want this democratic experiment to fail, join me in supporting our public library today and in the future.

LORRIE ARTIGO
Placerville

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 2 comments

  • francescaduchamp@att.netJanuary 12, 2013 - 7:24 pm

    Ms Lorrie I couldnt agree more--This is how it should be--people just coming forward and donating their money--where they want it to go. The library is one of the oldest democratic institutions we have--it is a totally American idea...one of the last totally democratic places left. Thank you for taking a moment to think about "what is a library"--and where is its place in American responsibility. Many have said that science fiction writers are the sages of human kind...when you get a chance read or reread...Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury has stated that the novel is not about censorship, but a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature, which leads to a perception of knowledge as being composed of factoids, partial information devoid of context.[2] (converting words to short sentences and acronyms--today--we call it texting) My heart to yours miss--thank you !!!!!

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netJanuary 12, 2013 - 8:40 pm

    I encourage everyone to go look at all the branches in El Dorado county--which ones could use more help at this time-- where money is tight. Buying books should always be the priority. Safe structures to house the books should come next. Easy access to get to the books and/or buildings that houses them--should be a given. Decorating should be last. Again thank you for this letter.

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