April 8-14 is National Library Week, when American’s celebrate one of the most public of public goods, the library. Homer is fortunate to have a lot to celebrate.

The Homer Public Library is one of just 259 public libraries recently named the best in the nation. This distinction and the effort behind it is not lost on local residents. We love our library and use and support it with a passion.

Why does Homer love its library? A look at recent public testimony on behalf of the library makes it clear. We love the library because it works, it provides healthy options for our community, it is a bastion of our democratic values and, as one person wrote, “no other city program does so much so well for so many.”

Here, in your words, are some of the reasons we celebrate the Homer Public Library. You might recognize some of these words as yours, but you definitely will relate to the feelings of your neighbors about the library.

We love what the library does. It is “a source of good information, good books, stimulation for the human soul and intellectual development.” The library offers “resources that are not provided elsewhere. The depth of the children’s programs, storytime, summer reading program, after-school programs offer children the opportunities to develop literacy skills and become lifelong learners,” one peson wrote.

A new resident says the library is one reason she and her husband settled here. “It was one of the main tools that I utilized to find a job,” she wrote. She is a volunteer EMT and used the library computers to study and take practice tests for certification. A student at Kachemak Bay Campus, her study groups used library rooms to prep for tests.

“We look forward to the day when we have a child and can benefit from the children’s reading room and broaden their horizons,” the student wrote.

We love the library staff. A Homer Middle School teacher writes, “The librarians have been our eyes and ears, letting us know of a child who is hungry or lonely or at risk.” They provide “age-appropriate, inclusive and fun programs.” We love staff’s “personal interest in people and their helpfulness and devotion to serving us.”

And let’s not overlook the “well-organized and ebullient volunteers who help the library run on a minimal budget.”

The library is a place for a family to read together on a rainy day, for youth to be safe after school, to help us be better parents, better citizens, better humans. It “charges no entrance fee and requires no minimum purchase; it is the only facility that welcomes any and all in our community every day.”

You called the library one of our city’s crown jewels, our town’s living room, the heart and hearth of our community.

Stop by the library this week and see the steady stream of people using library resources, interacting with their children, attending a meeting. Celebrate the moment, thank the staff, and be grateful for the Homer Public Library.

Marcia Kuszmaul is owner of Juneberry Lodge, president of the Homer Bed and Breakfast Association and a member of the Homer Public Library Advisory Board.

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