By Bea Quirk
Libraries are an integral part of the fiber of this community. They touch tens of thousands of people’s lives in a myriad of meaningful and unexpected ways: People vote there, rent DVDs there because they can’t afford any other kind of entertainment, go there to stay warm when they have no home.
Libraries are not a luxury; they are essential in today’s democracy and knowledge-driven society. They provide connection among people of varying incomes and backgrounds. They create a sense of community at a time when we desperately need to come together. For the have-nots among us, they offer a way out of ignorance, isolation and poverty.
The ways people use libraries create a rich tapestry of life in Mecklenburg County. One person’s perspective can’t do it justice. I asked a bunch of friends, acquaintances and colleagues about their library branch and why the library is important to them. They spoke to me before the library board’s Wednesday decision to keep all the branches open, although at greatly reduced hours.