What is great about America? My answer was quick. The libraries.
Forty-eight years ago, I came to upstate New York during the month of December. I was straight out of college, a new bride coming to be with her husband, a cold land and a new culture. There was no relative or a friend to connect with. Life did not offer many outlets. Anyone would have thought that this was a scenario for depression and nervous breakdown.
But I was lucky. I discovered the library.
What a find it was. I had choices and choices. I could delve into a world that could be found in pages. I had the choice of classics, mysteries, history, philosophy and any fiction and nonfiction. A smorgasbord. It is more than that. Before Google, all references could be sought there. With the advent of computers, one can always run to the library for an immediate printout, a copy, or access to the computer when one’s own is acting up. The children have pleasant access and entertainment. One can always request for resources when they are not available locally. A patron is actually connected to a whole system of libraries.
But now, this salubrious access is threatened. In order to curtail costs, the city of Johnstown was on the precipice of deciding to cut its annual funding of its library, set up more than a hundred years ago with an understanding with the Carnegie endowment. It appears to be an easy reduction in expenses when the city stops funding for one entity. The unfortunate fact is that the action could have taken place immediately, without giving the library enough time to seek alternatives.
Time is needed for any feasible action. By withdrawing its support, the city would have plunged the library into even more expenses if it gets an opportunity to be associated with the school district. But, that also needs time. In the interim, the library will have to close since 75 percent of its operating expenses come from the city.
Fortunately, the officials of the city of Johnstown have decided to support the library for the immediate future although some alternative course is delegated to the future.
I wish to thank the city mayor and the common council for their wise decision.
ROSY V PYNADATH