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Letter to Editor: Library proposed levy increase

Dear Editor,

I am writing to urge Ray County voters to Vote Yes for the Ray County Library proposed levy increase. In the words of Henry Ward Beecher: “A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.” Our Ray County Library certainly serves that purpose for the people of Ray County.

The importance of libraries is critical to every facet of the community. Libraries aid in creating a literate society, assist in the deciphering between real and fake news, and offer access to a wide range of information which grants opportunities for further learning possibilities. Libraries range in a multitude of different types; such as school libraries, university libraries, special libraries, and then public libraries just like the Ray County Library.  Three simple facts about public libraries:

Americans spend nearly three times as much on candy as they do on public libraries.

In 2014, there were more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.—a total of 16,766 libraries, including branches.

Americans check out more than 2 billion items each year from their public libraries; the average user takes out more than seven books a year.

In 1946, when the Ray County Library was established with a levy of $0.10, the average cost of a hardback book was less than $1. This levy was raised to $0.11 in 1986, where it remains 31 years later. Today, when the Ray County Library levy is $0.11, the average cost of a hardback fiction book is $25-30, with nonfiction higher. Salaries, utilities and building maintenance have also risen dramatically since 1986. To maintain the high standards of service the Ray County Library has established, indeed, to increase hours of service, programs provided, and materials available, this increase is vitally necessary. As Walter Cronkite said, “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.”

Thank you, and VOTE YES.

Virginia Hollon

Stet area

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