The library is important... why don’t we treat it that way?
When I first got the call to say I had been offered a job at a newspaper, I was ecstatic. I had been out of work for close to four months and had applied to nearly 170 jobs; the call back from my publisher, Tim O’Malley, was my third call. After my excitement wore off, I settled down and did a little research on my new home- Jacksboro.
When looking for a new place to live, I always started with three things: is there a place I can walk, is there a place I can bowl and is there a public library? Although Fort Richardson is closing soon for construction and there is no bowling alley within 25 miles, the first thing I did was go get myself a library card.
I was greeted by smiling faces and promptly got my Gladys Johnson Ritchie Public Library card. I was ecstatic and promptly checked out my first book: “Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic,” by Alyssa Milan.
After introducing myself to Lanora Joslin, the director of the library, we quickly hit it off. We talked about history, politics, the latest fiction books and expressed our disdain for a specific collection of short stories.
Lanora and I spoke about the library and what it takes to run it and I learned the contributions from the county and city only keep the library afloat for four months.
The money is usually used for general maintenance and never goes to the salaries of the staff. The workers there have not gotten raises in years, or ever in some cases, despite their hard work in the community. The library workers are all smart individuals as well, almost all of them have education backgrounds and many have been teachers right here in Jacksboro.
The library, as I came to found out, is not just a place to read books or use the internet if you do not have it. There are children that go there every day after school to wait on their parents or get homework done, many of whom I now see almost every day when I get off around 5 p.m. One such kid has a mother that I spoke to that said she works two jobs and gets off at six, and every day when she comes by to pick her kid up the workers are there waiting for her.
The library is a wealth of knowledge for the community. It is a great resources for history, entertainment, current events or even just a chat when you need someone to talk to. With that being the case, why doesn’t the library get more support from the community, where it needs support from the most?