Letter to the Editor

Library needs space, not frills

Friday, February 2, 2007

To the editor:I love libraries. Let me rephrase that. I love quiet libraries.

The Cape Girardeau Public Library lacks ample shelf space and adequate meeting rooms. There are too few computers. It needs to expand. But it does not need a lounge area with a coffee bar or snack center. Let the private bookstores cater to the snacking public. If refreshments are being used as an enticement to increase library usage, is that sending the wrong message? What ever happened to learning for the sake of knowledge? Must people really be offered food and drink to boost attendance at the library? Is the library a food business, a socialization agency or is it a learning center?

If the intent is to read and learn, the library staff needs to facilitate that. Patrons need to be able to visit the library with the confidence that they can spend uninterrupted time using the materials and computers that are provided. Librarians need to feel comfortable informing parents that the library is not a hangout. If students want to use the library after school hours without parental supervision, then the students need to understand the policy of being quiet and considerate of others. Patrons should be mindful that the librarians are there to assist in retrieving information as well as shelve and check out materials. The current staff is helpful.

As a former teacher and librarian assistant, I would like to see the library expand, but only if it caters to reading and learning.

MARY ANN HAYNES, Cape Girardeau