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Libraries are resourceful for communities


I feel I must respond to the guest column by Fillmer Hevener (“Libraries are outdated,” Oct. 30) in which he asserts that libraries are outdated and actually compares a library to an outhouse. The crudeness of such a metaphor is astounding coming from a former educator.

As an academician, Hevener should have done his research. Libraries are not outdated. According to the latest statistics, in 2012, the U.S. had more public libraries than ever — 17,219, including branches and bookmobiles. Since 2013, in Virginia alone, there were 11 new public libraries built.

The notion that Internet-based resources makes libraries unnecessary is simply wrong, especially for a rural community such as ours. The digital divide is nowhere more apparent than in communities like Buckingham that have very limited general access to Internet service due to the high cost of satellite based services, and the even higher costs of high-speed cable services.

In 2013, the Pew Research Center released a report that found 91 percent of surveyed Americans, ages 16 and older, said libraries are important to their communities.

Another Pew study found 95 percent of those surveyed said that “because it provides free access to materials and resources, the public library plays an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed” and “public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading.”

I would encourage Hevener to go to the library, ask the librarian for help and get accurate information.

Frank Howe