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Libraries Can Still Play Crucial Role in Educating Community

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I CONGRATULATE the Albuquerque Journal for the attractive almost full-page spread on public libraries in the July 15 Sunday Journal. Writer Rick Nathanson and photographer Adolphe Pierre-Louis offer a delightful and engaging look into the evolving role of public libraries as community centers.

Bright, cheery photographs highlight the mixed-use setting with books and technology accommodating people of all ages. They make you feel like dropping what you are doing and heading out to a library.

Library personnel, regular patrons and those of us who work closely with the library system as supporters and advocates are aware of the changing roles of libraries and the dedication of staff as more and more they take on additional tasks to meet community needs. The wonder is that they achieve as much as they do on an ever-shrinking budget. …

As someone attentive to the role of early-childhood development and the overall educational success of students, I am encouraged by our public library programs for the youngest patrons. … Our state has scant early-childhood development resources, and this is one of the areas in which our public libraries step up to play an important role by providing a favorable environment mediated by trained, dedicated professionals.

Our Albuquerque/Bernalillo County libraries do a marvelous job with significantly less funding than libraries of comparable sizes in other nearby southwestern cities. They are not schools, but among other things, places of learning with the capacity to be a dynamic community resource for improving education. Just imagine the possibilities for early-childhood literacy and its impact on later school success if we could adequately fund our libraries!

ELOISE GIFT

Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Libraries Advisory Board

Editor’s note: Eloise Gift is the Democratic candidate for House District 68.

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