To the Editor:

I hope everyone will attend the March 1, 2014 Town Meeting and vote for the Mark Skinner Library appropriation.

If you visit the meetings of the Mark Skinner Library Board of Trustees, you will realize what a juggling act the Board and staff perform.

They are responsible for:

1. Providing materials and services for public use.

2. Funding the operations of the current library including maintenance, heating and cooling, salaries, repairs, etc.

3. Raising funds to build the new community library.

4. Overseeing the construction of the new library.

Any one of these activities is a major responsibility, but Executive Director Betsy Bleakie and the Board of Trustees must deal with these responsibilities all at one time.

Libraries are no longer just cozy places to read books; library cards are the keys to so much more. Public libraries provide access to technology for all community members and offer training on computers and other devices.

They are the gatekeepers to government services like job searches and social service registrations. They offer free access to foreign language courses and other educational programs for adults and children.

The library may not bring visitors to our town, but it does provide a reason for people to live here. It's an asset available to all our residents and does its part to make Manchester a better place to live.

Pat Johnston Manchester


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