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Clearwater's quality library system deserves support

Support our fine library system

It hurts to see the Clearwater City Council cutting back on public library hours and library locations after working for 30 some years to build a quality library system — a system that is made up of accessible neighborhood branches.

Believe it or not, before 1978, there was no library service east of Highland Avenue. In 1978, to meet the needs of the population growth in east Clearwater, the then-City Commission voted to open a "twig" library — called that because it was too small to be called a branch. It was located in the East Fire Station training room beside Clearwater Mall. Though space and books were limited, it was an immediate success.

The next significant step in the growth of the library system was in 1982. The City Commission approved a quarter-mill tax increase (the vote was 5-0) to build two libraries, East and Countryside. The City Commission members were Mayor Charles LeCher and commissioners Kathy Kelly, Jim Berfield, Paul Hatchett and Rita Garvey.

In 1985 the East Library branch was completed. In 1989 the Countryside branch was completed.

What has made the Clearwater Library System unique and important to our community is its concept of "neighborhood libraries." Neighborhood libraries allow people to stop at their library on their way home from work, school, etc. Neighborhood libraries allow users to walk to their library or ride a bike to their library.

Libraries are the heart of our community, as they serve everyone no matter what their socioeconomic situation. Everybody has access to information through our libraries. The more accessible the information, the more opportunity for success/improvement in their lives and the lives of their families.

Please continue your support for our library system to ensure a quality of life for all.

Rita Garvey, Clearwater

Re: New park fee reflects true value | letter, Aug. 27

Access to nature should be free

Cindy Gamblin, in her letter, states, "It's time for us to pay the piper," and we are "playing catch-up" for not paying fair value for parks. She also mentions the same logic for Florida universities.

I have enjoyed the parks and also the benefit of both Florida State University and the University of Florida. These great benefits enabled me to provide 30 years of specialized science teaching at considerably below scale. Education, parks and beaches were a big part of it as it allowed me to raise my three children in a great atmosphere, economically. I am not the exception among Florida citizens. An old saying: "In Florida you get paid in sunshine."

Let us consider what I think should be a universal idea. The sun, sand and water should be absolutely free and accessible to everyone. Is it not God-given? What kid should ever be denied access because he does not have a few shekels in his pocket? (In Hawaii it is free even in front of the Royal Hawaiian or Sheraton.)

The same applies to education, pre-K through grad schools, as much as you can take, free.

How to pay for it? Simple, just cease all wars (Iraq: $84 billion plus $8 billion per month) and prevent the need for trillion-dollar banker bailouts. Divert the money for civilized needs like parks and education.

Henry L. King, Clearwater

Re: Symbols cloud real city issues | letter, Aug. 13

Childish behavior is truly puzzling

Enjoyed this letter comparing the "hysterical, mob-ruled political arena" with the Clearwater City Council's rational approach to reducing flag-flying because of budget concerns.

I don't understand how otherwise educated people can behave in such immature ways, especially the older gray-heads. The suggestion by the TV pundits is that old white men, mostly, are screaming in some official's face because the white male has lost his social/political position of superiority. Sounds reasonable to me.

"White men can't jump?" Was this not the root cause of Hitler's old war? Really!

To see the "mobsters" painting swastikas on their opponents' doorposts is absurd.

Nadine Duke, Oldsmar

Clearwater's quality library system deserves support 08/29/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:36am]
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