Letters to the Editor

Library: Can't wait to read

For the last two weeks, my son kept asking me, “When is the Summer Reading Program going to start? I want to do it, Mom. Make sure we sign up to do it.” He gets excited about this program every year because it is run so well by the staff of our local Oak Harbor Library. He looks forward to the weekly programs during the summer, as well as the monthly programs put on during the rest of the year.

As homeschoolers, the world is our classroom and we spend a fair amount of time utilizing the local library. He has grown up going to story time to hear Miss Debbie read to him. And he feels very comfortable working on the small puzzles at the reference desk and chatting with the librarian. He has learned to use the computer catalogs in the children’s section and relishes finding the non-fiction books he is interested in by looking through the stacks in the main part of the library.

We checked out the Bob Books when he was learning to read since they are quite expensive. Last year he learned everything there is to know about dinosaurs, and this year he explored a variety of subjects including the solar system and ancient Egypt. His education has been greatly enriched by the books and services available at the local library.

However, we have noticed something over the past few years. When the staff puts on programs, the meeting room that the library borrows from the college is often very full now when popular activities are taking place. Adults and small children sometimes spill out into the hallway because it is just too crowded in the main room. When we go into the library to look for books, my son frequently has to wait a while to use a computer catalog because they are all being used. If I want to look for books myself, I have gotten into the habit of using the catalog from my home computer since the ones at the library are usually so busy, then bringing my list to the library with me. Luckily we do have internet access at home since the computers which offer Web access are constantly occupied as well. Usually, if we want to look at books, we end up sitting on the floor in the children’s area since much of the seating in the main library is full. The Oak Harbor branch is the “hub” for several libraries in the region, offering reference services over the phone to other branches.

Oak Harbor is the largest city on the island. Our current library is bursting at the seams and we need to look forward to the next 20 years and the growth that will take place in this city. We need a bigger, independent library, on its own site that is easily accessible with more parking that is dedicated to the use of library patrons only. Our new library needs to be able to house more books so that we do not have to constantly put the books we need on hold. We need more seating, our own bigger meeting room and more computers for public use. We need to provide for the needs of the next generation. Please support the bond that will come up for your vote this fall so that Oak Harbor can have a library that will meet the needs of our community for years to come.

Kathleen Barbour

Oak Harbo

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