Bill Hesselgren: Museum, library have so many benefits
Voters elected months ago not to fund the library and museum. Why they were joined at the hip, so to speak, as one issue for voters puzzled me. They are not the same thing, and deserved individual consideration.
Commonality is their educational merits, but the approaches are different, the users are different, and their purposes are different. Let’s consider them different and take each to task.
The library is like the rest of these facilities across the country and is suffering from the shifted paradigm of what the users want. Almost everything in print is available these days on a smartphone or tablet, so why go to a building full of paper versions of internet of Kindle staples?
Almost everything is key.
Modern information and popular writings are digitized because it’s easy and pays. Source books for study are not so accessible, and out of print books and essays are rarely available. Because libraries link with each other, these rare or obscure books are available on request in our library. Another benefit is the social side of library visits. You can meet like-minded individuals or maybe better yet, readers with different views that can maybe, just maybe, broaden your insights. Children can experience the fun of books with tutors’ aid, expressively reading and responding to questions or even facial expressions. Can’t get that online.
That the libraries must evolve is obvious because of the advent of the liberation of people’s thinking thanks to Apple, Kindle, and the like. How to serve the needs, but mostly the desires and keep the interest of the community has yet to be resolved, but I’m confident it will be solved, hopefully before our library closes.
The museum is another matter. We have a good one that represents an attraction to visit with hands and eyes on history. We have a lot of significant history represented in our museum, and thanks to good management, it stays pertinent, providing a backdrop behind our current culture. The roots of the community are proudly on display for our perusal, and these beginnings and developments are foundations of our present and future. Unlike the library dilemma, the museum needs to continue in its role to bring the past to physical light. It was unfortunate that voters could not choose to support the museum separately from the library or vice-versa.
I along with my wife would like to challenge everyone who voted to support the library and museum to make a donation to whichever one or both you must have thought worthy. We do not want these entities to become an historical footnote, and neither do you.
Bill and Patricia Hesselgren