Wake County Manager David Cooke understands the lure of libraries, which took a hit during the recession’s deepest valleys.
“If you’re a town and you don’t have a library,” he said, “you want one. And if you’re a town and you have a small library, you want a bigger one. People see a library as a very positive asset.”
Bonds for a building program and investment in county libraries have been approved in previous votes. The question is whether to offer the bonds for sale and raise the money. The answer should be an emphatic yes. The number of volumes is down, but county officials found when they proposed closing a library for money-saving back in 2009 that the public would not go along, thankfully. The need now is for a renewal (pun intended by library advocates) in investment in building and expansion and book-buying.
Libraries aren’t just about books, after all. They become community centers, gathering spots for official meetings and informal ones. They’re ideal for raising awareness on issues of the day, which the Wake libraries have done for the cause of eliminating childhood illiteracy. They often are the heart and soul of neighborhoods. In hard times or good, libraries are mighty important. Let us hope county commissioners share that view.