Let’s not undermine the community treasure that is our library

To the Editor:

Libraries are the backbone of any community. They serve a number of critical functions, particularly in rural areas such as far Western North Carolina where, because many homes remain without internet services, use of computers and printers are provided free of charge at the library.

This proved a godsend when schools were shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A well-stocked library provides opportunities to read about history and current events; offers wide-ranging research resources; fiction and non-fiction choices for people of all ages, information on political opinions and views, world religions and cultural issues.

For patrons who choose to seek them out, materials related to gender and racial identity are available.

Displays commemorating special events such as Indigenous Peoples Day, Pride Month, religious and secular holidays are organized at appropriate times throughout the year. Reading classic literature at home with my parents and, later, with my own children was special to me. “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Charlotte’s Web” and even, “Where The Wild Things Are” are prime examples.

I believe we gain better perspective on the human condition when we read about people, places and events that are not part of our everyday world.

Banning such literature limits a reader’s appreciation of the world.

If I as a parent feel something is inappropriate for my child it is my responsibility, and mine alone, to assure they are not exposed to it.

I happen to be a white, heterosexual Christian. That does not diminish my desire to learn about others who differ from me in their religious, racial, sexual, cultural, educational or professional experiences.

What a sad, lonely place it would be if we were not given the opportunity to surround ourselves with the richness of the human experience. I respect that the opinions of others may be different from mine but expect that mine will be respected in return.

The purpose of a library is to make information and resources available to patrons from all walks of life with many diverse views.

If an item is felt by an individual to be offensive to their personal values or beliefs, then I respectfully suggest that they choose not to read or watch it.

Our library system and its individual county libraries are a remarkable resource to this part of the state. The staff members are knowledgeable about the collections and eager to assist with any requests.

The opportunities provided for our citizens quite often exceed what’s available in many more urban areas. The administrators are, in my opinion, excellent stewards of the financial resources available to them and are to be commended for their professionalism and understanding of the needs of the communities they serve. Please, let’s not undermine a wonderful organization that serves us all so well.

Jenifer Montsinger, Sylva