County should provide critical library funding

info@islandpacket.comSeptember 22, 2013 

It seems the Hilton Head Island library can't catch a break. Cutting staff and hours and diverting library funds to other uses reduce the effectiveness of a wonderful local resource and tourist attraction.

The recent flood due to a broken sprinkler head has now caused the loss of one of the library's remaining sources of support. The Friends of the Library bookstore lost 3,500 books to water damage. These books would have been sold and the money donated to the library for books, CDs, DVDs, programs, computers, furniture and other materials necessitated by a lack of responsible funding. The $50,000-plus given each year to the library by the Friends is a result of the generosity of residents, dues from its members and the hard work of the volunteers who staff the bookstore.

Libraries have been around since 295 B.C., in Alexandria, Egypt. The Internet is not going to eliminate their need or usefulness. Circulation statistics and foot traffic counts prove their popularity. Obviously, Beaufort County administrators agree because they just opened an $11 million library on remote St. Helena Island.

The format of some materials has changed. It's been found that using both electronic resources and print materials is a powerful educational tool.

County Council and the county administration should do the right thing and step up funding. Let's not lose this gem of an island resource.

Valerie Ford

Hilton Head Island

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