Richard Panz: Libraries aren’t obsolete

July 20, 2013 

Libraries aren’t obsolete

According to the recent opinion piece by guest columnist Jim Tynen of the conservative Civitas Institute, libraries are obsolete – not needed because of the shift to electronic media. No need to expand our Cary library.

Actually, I’ve heard those arguments throughout my 25-year career as a library director. Yet reality paints a different picture.

Door counts of people visiting public libraries continue to surpass those of any business in town, especially in times of economic distress. Children line up regularly for story hours. On any given day, public-access computer workstations are filled with job seekers working on their resumes and people doing research. Kids and adults come and go with armloads of books, only to return again in a week or two to get more.

Sure, libraries have and will continue to evolve to meet the challenges of our electronic world by offering electronic media and more computer resources. But you can be sure that if you want a lasting anchor for a downtown area that is certain to draw people, who in turn will support nearby businesses, a beautiful new public library is what we need in Cary.

I wonder if Mr. Tynen spent any time in the Cary library observing how it actually is being used before putting pen to paper for his opinion piece?

Richard Panz


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