Library Week

ELEANOR Crumblehulme, a University of British Columbia library assistant, once noted, “Cutting libraries during a recession is like cutting hospitals during a plague.”

Unfortunately, libraries in Eastern Ohio and elsewhere have faced funding cuts in recent years.

Yet, libraries currently are celebrating National Library Week, and the theme is “Communities matter @ your library.”

Even though that’s the theme for the 2013 observance, it’s something that area library directors, board members and staff members have been known for years. In fact, their programs and the varied activities show that they have been working to help the communities.

Granted, library officials aren’t happy about the funding reductions and neither is the general public. The officials, however, didn’t sit around, bemoaning the fact that less money was being received.

Less money usually meant a reduction in hours and other cuts.

Library officials, however, worked with what they had and sought more with grants from local sources as well as from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

They apparently agree with the words of a song, recorded by Kay Starr years ago – “It’s Whatcha Do With Whatcha Got … That pays off in the end” (even though they might never have heard the song or would have worded it quite differently).

For example, the Martins Ferry Public Library no longer has a bookmobile because it can’t afford it, but it does have a program to cover most of Belmont County three times a month, serving people who can’t get to a library. In addition, the library also serves people in nursing homes.

BOOKS may be the heart of a library, but there’s so much more available, electronically and otherwise.

There are videos, DVDs, compact discs, books on tape and compact discs, MP3-CDs, eBooks and other offerings and services.

Classes and special sessions for varied age groups are available. Residents also can check job possibilities on a library computer.

All libraries do not offer the same programs although there are similarities.

Library offerings show that communities – and people – really do matter.