Our opinion: Vote yes for the library

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The coming Town Meeting Australian ballot will include a question proposing $243,740 in funds from taxpayers to defray the operating expenses of the Manchester Community Library. That's a little more than 30 percent of the library's proposed operating budget. It's also a wise investment in the town's quality of life, in literacy, and in a resource that quite literally offers something for everyone.

If you're a Manchester resident, the library is free for you to use and enjoy. And what a tremendous resource it is. The library's cultural, educational and local programs fill the calendar and Northshire Notes sections of this newspaper every week. Just next week, there's shoe fitting clinic with a certified podiatrist on Tuesday afternoon, a Dungeons and Dragons night on Tuesday night, fireside stories with Rabbi Bob Alper on Wednesday night, and a guitar jam on Thursday night.

Library members get free passes to area museums including Hildene, access to the Internet from 19 computers or through free wifi. And if the library's 20,000 books, audiobooks, magazines and DVDs aren't what you need, its interlibrary loan service can find what you're looking for.

Manchester has a lot to be proud of, and the library is one of its crown jewels for residents of all ages — young families that enjoy storytime and summer reading programs, students who convene there after school, and older adults who take advantage of its many cultural programs and services. The library's request is 4.7 percent over last year's appropriation, but that works out to $10,967. That's not a big increase.

If your house is valued at $300,000, the library's impact on your property tax bill would be $61.56 per year. That's quite likely less than you pay for a month of cable. Put another way, you get everything the library offers for the cost of 20 three-dollar cups of coffee. It is practically unthinkable to imagine a town that takes as much pride in its quality of life as Manchester cutting its library funding by one-third. But it's not impossible, because that funding is decided at the polls. And if we've learned anything in the past few years, it's that voting matters a great deal.

So we urge Manchester readers to vote, and to vote "yes" for the Manchester Community Library on Tuesday, March 5.

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