Precious Libraries

CAMPAIGN promises often aren’t fulfilled, but that can’t be said about the pre-election promises made by the Belmont County District Library prior to the November election.

Because of numerous cuts over the years, the libraries in that district system and elsewhere had to reduce services. Voters approved the levy, and district library is fulfilling one of its major promises by expanding hours.

That was placed into effect at the main library in Martins Ferry this month and will be effective March 1 in the branches in Bridgeport, Shadyside, Powhatan Point, Bethesda and Flushing (Victoria Read branch).

It seems very appropriate that the expansion in hours was announced near the beginning of February, which is Library Lovers’ Month.

Having the library open for longer hours make it accessible for longer periods in which residents can avail themselves of the varied programs and services available.

BOOKS in various forms can be obtained in today’s libraries.

How that would have pleased Thomas Jefferson, who had one of the greatest and most versatile minds in American history. Jefferson once commented, “I cannot live without books.”

It is said when Shadwell, Jefferson’s family home, burned in 1770, his most lamented loss was that of his books.

The nation’s Capitol and Library of Congress with its 3,000 volumes were burned by the British during the War of 1812. Jefferson, who had largest personal collection of books in the nation, offered to sell his books to reestablish the Library of Congress. More than 6,000 of his books were purchased for $23,950 with Jefferson using most of the money to settle debts, undoubtedly including a note signed for a friend.

As the last of 10 wagonloads of books left Monticello in 1815, Jefferson noted that “an interesting treasure” has been added to Washington, D.C., and it has “now become the depository of unquestionably the choicest collection of books in the U.S., and I hope it will not be without some general effect on the literature of our country.”

IT WOULD be difficult to have a library such as that possessed by Jefferson, but public libraries can make up the difference.

Libraries are open to all of us so enjoy them during Library Lovers’ Month and throughout the year.