Sunday, August 9, 2009

Letter to the editor: Library tax a bargain, not a burden

To the editor:

It’s a difficult and frightening economic time for everyone who reads these words. In these financial hardships, there is one recovery plan that can help us. We don’t need another stimulus package; what we need is to stimulate our minds. One answer to our economic woes is the Pike County Public Library.

With free books, free DVDs, free CDs, free audiobooks, free children’s programs, free teen programs, free adult programs, free Internet access, free research assistance, free specialized databases, free newspapers... well you get the idea, there’s a lot of free stuff and free things to do at the library. And free isn’t a word you hear often today.

With all of the resources and services Pike County Public Library provides our community, there’s a small way we can give back and we can make sure we continue to have unlimited access to PCPL’s resources.

The solution, despite being only three letters long, is a frightening word for anyone – a college student in tens of thousands of dollars of debt (like me), a struggling working parent or a retired senior citizen living on limited income. The way we can keep PCPL running for ourselves and our neighbors is a... a... tax.

I can imagine what you’re thinking. The last thing we need is another tax. How could I have the audacity to say that another tax is the answer to our economic woes?

Well, let’s think it through.

The proposed library tax of 1 mill would cost the average homeowner just $35 a year. For the price of two movie tickets and popcorn, every Pike County resident is entitled to a year’s worth of unlimited access to all that free stuff I mentioned earlier. For the price of four McDonalds value meals, we can come together to improve our community, to develop the minds young and old in Pike County.

If everyone checked out just two or three books a year, we’d be getting more than our money’s worth. When you look at all the resources and programs – both educational and entertainment – that Pike County Public Library provides, a library tax is no burden at all.

It’s a bargain.

Even if you hate the new library design, a “carbuncle” as it may be, this tax is for you. The money will go straight toward the operating budget – putting new books on shelves, teaching children how to read, purchasing technology to collaborate and learn with. Your tax dollars will NOT enter the pockets of any pesky architect. The new library in Milford has almost entirely been funded by private donations and grants. This tax will make sure we have the operating budget to keep our library system and its future branches.

So say goodbye to expensive movie rentals. Say goodbye to purchasing books from Amazon just to be read once and collect dust. Say goodbye to having nothing to do around here. And say hello to the Pike County Public Library. Say hello to what is an extremely cost-effective tax to keep the operation running.

Please, stop by any branch of PCPL to sign the petition to get a referendum about the tax on this November’s ballot, and vote YES in November. Your signature and vote are for your personal unlimited supply of staff, resources and programs at PCPL – and for a brighter future for our community.

Thank you,

Ryan Balton
Volunteer and former president
The Friends of the Children’s Room at Pike County Public Library

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