I'm writing to urge residents of Wood County to vote to authorize additional levies for the Wood County Public Library. Being a homeowner myself, I don't take any levy lightly, but the public value of the library's services and the urgency of its needs have convinced me it's important to support the proposed levy.
If approved this November, the additional funds would allow the county to build a new branch in south Parkersburg, now woefully underserved; create greater accessibility to the main library on Emerson Avenue; restore or extend hours of operation; expand book deliveries at the various branches; and, provide a small staff increase for children's programming and services at the main library - all this for an estimated penny or two a day for most households over the five years of the levy. In my view, that's money well spent.
Voters, particularly property owners, may question why they should support yet another levy. That question is best answered by looking at the value of services the library offers: not only access to thousands of books, music and audio books, periodicals, DVDs and videos, but also free access to computers and the Internet; walk-in, phone and email reference services; local history and genealogy collections; services for people with hearing or sight impairments; bookmobile visits around the county; programs for children of all ages; literacy tutoring; income tax and voter registration forms and assistance; public meeting rooms; and even free notary services. In short, the library is a unique and important public resource available to all. If you believe it's not, just visit any branch at any time and observe for yourself the number of people who take advantage of it.
If the levy were to fail, the county's choices would be limited: forego the needed improvements, take funds from other pressing needs, or borrow the money in the municipal bond market. My choice is to vote for the levy, and I encourage Wood County voters to follow suit.
John R. Swales III