The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


August 24, 2009

Editorial: Lapel library branch should be a priority

The Anderson Public Library board made the right call in giving its Lapel branch a high priority in services offered to the community.

Though we’re not quite sure what that designation guarantees Lapel residents, it is a clear attempt by the library board to calm fears in Lapel. Will the designation prolong the life of the Lapel branch? We hope so.

Facing a projected $750,000 shortfall next year, the library board recently ranked its community services, while realizing that some of those would experience budget cuts. Closing the Lapel branch would save an estimated $300,000 a year.

But the closing would have a highly negative impact on the quality of life in the small town. As local residents see in their libraries from Middletown to Elwood, and Pendleton to Alexandria, the local library is a cultural hub for small towns. Lapel is no exception.

We quote 12-year-old Lapel Middle School student Jay T. Godby-Schwab, who wrote a letter to this newspaper: “It’s a good place to do research for homework, find a movie for family night or a book for a book report. ... It’s bad enough that the library is closed on Saturday and Sunday, but forever would be worse.”

We particularly agree with his last point.

Lapel residents are involved with their library. Circulation increased 52 percent in July over a year earlier. Lapel branch supporters held a small get-together after the Anderson board released its rankings. And the town council has researched the possibility of the library serving both Lapel and Stony Creek Township.

Library staff in Anderson followed Lapel’s ranking with, in order of priority, information services, children’s programs, early literacy/daycare outreach, teen programs, local history/genealogy, service for homebound patrons, the bookmobile and outreach services.

We appreciate that the library board is being transparent in its actions, letting the public know exactly what the board and patrons face. Until we know the definite cuts, we hope Lapel remains at the top of the library board’s list of priorities.

In Summary

Anderson Public Library was right to give high priority to keeping the Lapel branch open.

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