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Cents and sensibility

September 10, 2009

Just the other day I read an article in Kiplinger’s entitled Fabulous freebies. The list of fabulous freebies includes “free movies and books from the public library. ” It’s number 15, among some other good ideas.  There have been many similar articles citing the library as an excellent choice if you are interested in saving money and still having incredible access to resources.  It just makes “cents.”

That reminded me that even though the timing on our capital campaign might not be the best in the world, the timing on our relevance to our community couldn’t be better.   The library board discussed that very thing as we were deciding whether or not we should head into the fundraising phase of our project just as the stock market plummeted last  Fall.  How could we ask people to be generous and philanthropic now?  But then again, how could we not when our usage is soaring and continues to demonstrate our importance to our citizens?  Also, wasn’t there opportunity in moving forward with a construction project at a time when prices had either stabilized or dropped on building materials?  And what about the fact that the project would employ people in a vast array of construction trades during a time where companies are looking for work as opposed to too busy to bid on the project?

Most things in life have both opportunities and threats, pros and cons, good and bad.   I’ve always believed the “double edged sword” is worth acknowledging and understanding.  Delving deeper generally allows you to find a place of balance…and likely your best solution.

Every day I see people using the library to research, study, examine, explore.  Whether they are looking up the review in Consumer Reports or studying alternative investments, people use resources to help them make good decisions and, ultimately, to make sense of their world.  We are honored to help in the process.

This actually reminds me of our library’s vision statement:

The Dwight Foster Public Library seeks to ignite the quest for knowledge and understanding and provide the necessary resources for life’s journey for each member of our community.  Our facility, programs, and collections must be the anchor of our community, as we strive to preserve the record of history, inspire discovery, and make accessible the vast body of information so that all can learn, share, grow, and contribute.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me longer than it should have to cite our library’s vision statement in this blog.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it every day.  It’s the driving force behind all we do and the reason we have moved forward with fostering growth in Fort Atkinson.

So libraries really are about cents…and sensibility.  (My apologies to Jane Austen; I just couldn’t resist.)

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