Priceless Libraries

A DICTIONARY definition of library card from the 1930s-40s is “a card issued by a library that allows the holder to borrow books and other materials.”

But, a library card nowdays is much more than that.

With all the technological advances, library users can reach out for all kinds of knowledge. They can take virtual tours of historical sites and learn more about faraway places – it’s all there with a touch of their fingertips.

Although the thin, little library cards are available all through the year, special attention is being given to them this month.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month with area libraries joining with the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide in striving to point out the importance of library cards for students.

Young people using area libraries have opportunities to participate in programs geared for their age groups.

Then, too, for all age groups, there are classes such as those to provide free computer training (something not foreseen) a few decades ago.

Students aren’t limited to the use of technological advances in the library building itself. They can access things from home such as e-books and some online databases.

DESPITE funding cutbacks over the years, library officials still endeavor to provide needed services even though it unfortunately has been necessary to shorten library hours and to take other cost-cutting measures.

There also have been changes in library names as evidenced the public library in Martins Ferry and its branches. The library’s name was changed from the Martins Ferry Public Library to the Belmont County District Library so it could legally include the branches in its new boundaries as determined by the State Library of Ohio.

Yvonne Myers, library director, said library officials “have scrimped and saved,” but the point now has been reached that something else had to be done. As a result, the library has a proposed 1 mill operating levy for five years.

If approved, that levy would cost $2.91 a month for the owner of a home valued at $100,000.

That figures out to $35 a year for home with that valuation. A book itself sometimes costs more than $35.

It’s a small price to pay for all the knowledge and enjoyment available through the use of a library card.