Libraries are essential to a democratic society, say the Lewisburg couple just named honorary co-chairs for the Greenbrier County Public Library’s 2014-15 General Operating Fund Drive.
If a country’s health relies upon an informed electorate, “How do you do that if you don’t have access – to periodicals, magazines, journals?” asked Dennis Moloney.
“Education and information are core elements of our democratic foundations,” Susan Hewman added.
Hewman was a member of the capital campaign committee that helped build the new library facility, and she understands the need for efforts like the annual operating fund drive to keep libraries open. “In West Virginia, we don’t have adequate public funding to keep the libraries operating. Our libraries wouldn’t exist without the generosity of the community.”
This year’s fund drive co-chairs, who invite the public to a Kick-Off Party for the drive Dec. 3, beginning at 6 p.m., gave several examples of how libraries serve as important public hubs. “They are a community gathering place. They provide opportunities for learning, for recreation. Our library is used for meetings,” Hewman said.
Increasingly, access to computers and to the Internet is an important library function, Moloney said.
Hewman provided an example: “It is so essential to job applications today. Some of them are exclusively online.”
They make use of the library themselves by borrowing books and audiobook CDs. “When people look for an area to relocate, a library system is something they consider,” Moloney says. The former Director of Counseling Services at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Moloney saw that phenomenon with the school’s students. “It’s a nontraditional population. They bring families.” And those newly arrived families gravitate to the library.
In fact, the library was Hewman’s first stop when they moved to Greenbrier County and she wanted to become involved in the community. “That’s the first thing I did in the community. I was pregnant, I wasn’t working,” she said. The now-retired attorney began reading to preschoolers in 1977. “This library is a huge asset to people who live here and the people who might want to come live here.”
Donations designated for the Operating Fund may be sent to Greenbrier County Public Library, 152 Robert W. McCormick Drive, Lewisburg, WV 24901. More information about the fund drive or library services is available by calling 647-7568.