Coffee County Tennessee just received millions of dollars in revenue from Bonnaroo, but our twenty-one county commissioners have not been able to create a budget that will save our citizens' two libraries.
Some of our commissioners have suggested that libraries are luxuries that are unnecessary. We have a jail so grossly overpopulated that the taxpayers are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs for inmates who are suffering from violence caused by the crowded quarters. To fund a new and larger jail, these commissioners believe we should close our libraries.
The solution to this problem more education, not less!
These buildings are not just book warehouses. They serve as sanctuaries to anyone who hopes to self-educate or teach their children. The storytime hour, summer reading programs, teen programs, and book clubs engage hundreds of people with exciting and fun events. But the library serves the much more serious role of allowing those without internet access to look for jobs, file tax returns, and stay informed.
Anyone regardless of race, religious affiliation, or class may walk into the library and gain strength through knowledge. No one who uses the library to gather information or to take part in its programs is expected to pay a dime to do so. The library is in no way exclusive. So as one would expect, some of the library's most loyal patrons are those without much money to spend.
The attack on our libraries is an attack on our working poor.
How sad to think that knowledge and education are considered luxuries.
Should education and knowledge only be granted to those who are able to afford the materials? Our commissioners seem to think so.