Letter: Fundraising options for Pequot
Published 9:12 am, Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I spent the first 18 years of my life under my parents roof in Southport. I have fond memories of riding my bike to Wakeman's, buying candy from Switzer's, eating breakfast at the counter in Driftwood and of course, enjoying picnics at the harbor.
Among these memories is one that stands out more than the rest, and that is the annual pilgrimage my Dad and I would take to the Pequot Library book sale. We would walk from our house happily as cars were parked all along the sides of the road. As we walked, my Dad would begin to tell me the history of the library and how there used to be a house in front of it. Then he would pause, saying, "Wait, let me back up and explain more about the Pequot Indians." Then he would launch into the history of the tribe and the battles fought on the very land our house was built on. As someone who would later grow up and really enjoy history, the story was fascinating and made every trip to the library that much more exciting -- as if I was traveling back in time.
Today, I'm 29 years old. I've lived in New York and San Francisco and most recently I've been living in a small town in Ghana, where I was a volunteer teacher. I spent the first two months of my time there observing the community and trying to determine what I could possibly do to help this community in a way that would be significant and sustainable after I leave. My solution: A library.
Until you're stripped of all modern technology and the conveniences we're accustomed to, you don't realize the importance of a library. Not only does it provide access to learning, but it helps create a community, encourages reading, teaches kids how to share, use and properly care for the books.
You can imagine how shocked I was when I arrived home to Southport last Thursday and learned the library was at risk of closing. I know libraries are becoming obsolete since we now have iBooks, eReaders and too many Netflix movies to watch, but I think the Pequot Library is a historical landmark that serves as the heart of Southport and should remain operational. If there's a lack of budget, why not hold six to eight events a year at the library and have people finally be allowed to hold their weddings there? Or form a committee and host a gala?
People are desperate to open libraries in Africa, but we're letting ours close. What does that say?