To the editor:
Langston Hughes, author and favorite son of Lawrence, wrote in "Big Sea" that he fell in love with librarians who "help(ed) you find wonderful books! The silence inside the library, the big chairs, and long tables, and the fact that the library was always there and didn't seem to have a mortgage on it, or any sort of insecurity about it - all of that made me love it."
Some characteristics Hughes valued could be lost in our community because the library is overcrowded with limited ability to serve our increasing population as evidenced by long checkout lines, overworked librarians, few quiet corners and lack of parking. What if there had not been an adequate library? How would Hughes' life have been different?
Many people rely on our library for their reading, reference and entertainment. Recently I was in the library at 5:30 p.m. and counted 37 people walking in the door within 10 minutes. These were fathers with young sons, single people, elderly and teenagers. There were whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans - all within 10 minutes. Surely our library must provide our children and adult population with knowledge available to all.
I worry that people who question the need for an expanded library have not availed themselves of our library's services. I challenge them to spend half an hour finding books, music, videos, magazines and their neighbors in the Lawrence Public Library. An expanded public library will show that Lawrence values education, learning, reading and a vibrant democracy.