Leaders Urge Residents To Rediscover Local Libraries
An “opinion piece” that briefly appeared in Forbes this past Saturday has evoked strong public outcry in defense of public libraries and has also presented Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, other local officials and public library administrators with an opportunity to highlight the manifold programs and services which are being offered at these centers of education, culture and socialization. The op-ed piece, entitled “Amazon Should Replace Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money,” claimed that libraries don’t provide the same value to the public that they once did. The opinion item further contended that libraries have been largely replaced by Wi-Fi at Starbucks, Amazon Prime, Netflix and other private for-profit resources. Clavin and the library officials called the opinion piece ill-conceived, evidencing a lack of appreciation for the depth and breadth of services, programs, activities and other resources that are provided by local libraries. They also observed that libraries serve as a uniquely vital link to educational services, after school activities and other programs for residents of economically disadvantaged communities where many lack computer and Internet access. Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, Oceanside Public Library Director Christina Marra and Oceanside Public Library Assistant Director for Community Services Anthony Iovino joined together at the Oceanside Library to speak out against the op-ed piece and to call upon the public to visit their local libraries, explore and learn.
“This is a great opportunity to remind the public of all of the things that our local libraries offer area residents,” stated Clavin. “The opinion piece that was written by a LIU economist missed ‘the mark’ on so many important facts and facets when it comes to the offerings of local libraries. My office has presented hundreds of taxpayer seminars at area libraries, many children get their first introduction to socialization and the joys of reading at libraries, and neighbors attend educational programs, art exhibits and more. Perhaps most important, many children in economically disadvantaged communities are afforded access to after school resources, the Internet and computers that they might not otherwise enjoy.”
The officials pointed out a host of programs that are offered at the Oceanside Library, as well as many other public libraries. Of course, the facility offers a vast collection of reading and research materials from novels and reference volumes to “how-to” guides, biographies, historical records and classical literature. Online access and video rentals complement a robust network of library resources such as hard-to-find and rare documents. Art exhibits, lectures, performances, movies and classes abound at the library. Literacy classes, “Baby Playhooray” and “Teens N Tots” are also popular with members of the community. Additionally, Clavin, Cabana and D’Esposito all offer educational lecture seminars at area libraries. Clavin presents programs on how to reduce your taxes, D’Esposito offers lifesaving lectures on how to administer “Narcan” to opioid overdose victims and Cabana has recently brought bi-lingual reading programs to area communities. In fact, Anthony Iovino, Assistant Director for Community Services at the Oceanside Library, was slated to offer a lecture, entitled “An Introduction to Birding”, immediately after the press briefing in response to the Forbes op-ed piece.
What’s more, in addition to an enormous collection of books, magazines, newspapers and other publications, many libraries offer a wide array of e-books to borrow for Kindles and tablets. Library cards also offer access to a variety of databases some of which are used for scholarly and ancestry research, as well as educational tools for children that are available both at the library and from your home computer, laptop or tablet. Most libraries also offer free Wi-Fi, as well as computer and printing stations. Additionally, libraries also offer also a giant selection of must-see DVDs and Blu-rays for recent and classic movies as well as music albums and audio books. Library cards also provide patrons with access to free passes, by availability, to a long list of museums and attractions, including the Long Island Children’s Museum, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and even a free day at the beach with an Empire Pass.
“I love our local library; it is part of the very fabric and identity of the Oceanside Community,” said Iovino. “You couldn’t remotely match the expansive collection of programs, services, activities and resources offered at this and other public libraries if you were to try to substitute them with the private sector, for-profit resources discussed by the Forbes’ opinion piece author. More importantly, the social aspects and human interaction that take place here are not available in the private sector.”
“The looks on the faces of the children who attend my bi-lingual reading programs at local libraries speaks volumes about the value offered by public libraries better than anything else I can imagine,” said Cabana. “You will only find these types of magical and heartwarming experiences at your local library.”
“The natural choice for a location to present my ‘Narcan’ training seminars was the center of our local communities, our public libraries,” stated D’Esposito. “These types of programs, not to mention all of the other programs, services and resources available at your public library, are part and parcel of the quality-of-life experience that we enjoy on Long Island.”
“You just can’t put a price tag on the priceless offerings that you can only find at your public library,” concluded Clavin. “What’s more, there is no other place where people can find the enormous array of educational, cultural and social offerings under one roof except for our public libraries. And, our libraries serve as a lifeline for many economically disadvantaged residents when it comes to computer resources, after school activities and a host of programs. I encourage our residents to rediscover their public libraries today.”