Letter: Thankful for Public Libraries

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Published: 03-29-2024 4:01 PM

We were excited to read the March 22 Gazette article “Libraries turning the page: They’re still in the business of books, but embracing new role as community ‘third space,’” because reporter Maddie Fabian eloquently described what we have anecdotally noticed. We are the author and illustrator of the informational fiction STEM picture book “Dr. Rosie Helps the Animals,” (also available in Spanish/English). As seasoned educators, we developed an interactive reading and hands-on stuffy vet clinic program for children ages 4-8 that directly relates to the content of our book.

This past year, we have been invited to present at over 50 public libraries in Massachusetts. On our travels to and from these libraries, we have frequently discussed our observations of the ways that public libraries have evolved. The libraries we visited have created vibrant, welcoming multi-use spaces to provide free and equal access to information and programming for all community members. Each library, regardless of its resources has put much energy into achieving this goal.

A plaque outside Sturbridge’s Joshua Hyde Public Library reads: “A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.” (Henry Ward Beecher) Thank you public libraries, and the friends of these libraries (who often provide financial support) for working so hard to expand your historical role to include opportunities for your community members to come together to learn from each other in face-to-face interactions. Your hard work ensures that these essential experiences do not become luxuries.

Mahdia Hunt and Jennifer Welborn

Amherst

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