It was a fascinating and fulfilling project for me, and I will always be glad that I had the opportunity to serve. But just because I'm thousands of miles away at college does not mean that I've forgotten about the LAB and its efforts to gain community interest and support in building a new library for our wonderful little town.
Before I left, I was more than aware of how incredibly necessary our library is for the community; how central it is both symbolically and educationally.
Moreover, I knew that our town needed a much larger building for the amount of resources it now contains and for the amount of volunteers that work there. But you can imagine how this knowledge was reinforced by my coming here to college.
Humboldt's library has three floors, each of these being the size of about three Homer libraries. The amount of people that use the school's library is probably about 8,000. Homer has somewhere around that many residents, maybe more, virtually all of whom use the library. You do the math.
In short, I have now fully come to realize just how cramped Helen Hill, her dedicated staff, and all those books are in comparison to "normal" libraries everywhere else.
I was hanging out with some friends about a week ago, and, believe it or not, someone brought up how much they loved having the library there, accessible and convenient at practically any time of day. This surprised me because I'm used to Homer High School students, avoiding the library not because they are too cool (well, maybe because of that, too), but because there really isn't any point to going there if there isn't room to meet and be able to discuss something. More important, there aren't enough computers to support the number of library patrons.
When Homer's new library is in place, students of all ages will use it, mark my words. Here, no one is too cool for it, and everyone uses it, whether it be for computer access, research or group meetings. I myself have met at the library for study groups probably a half-dozen times just in the two months I've been here.
A community's library is such an integral part of the life of that community. I know that at college, everyone needs the library because everyone is basically here to study.
But a city library is just as much a necessity to its patrons as a college library is to its students. Anyone who doesn't have a computer can use the library, free, to check e-mail, surf the 'Net or research. The library's copy machine is constantly in use, and is very cheap.
Anyone with kids can and should use the library, because who wants to buy dozens of children's books when the city library is right there? People even use the Homer Public Library for its bathrooms, for noticeable lack of public bathroom facilities in downtown Homer.
Anyway, you see my point. Our town's library is one of the most important and most widely used facilities in town, and it also happens to be most in need of a new location and a heck of a lot more space.
So, residents of Homer, think about how you use the library. I'll bet not many of you can say that you've never used its resources in some way. And to everyone that has appreciated it, I ask that you show your support of a new facility. No one can argue with the fact that Homer needs it. Thanks for reading this.