I urge everyone in the Cooperstown school district to vote yes for the library initiative that will be on the school ballot on May 20. This resolution means that, instead of being a line item in individual municipal and school budgets, library funding for both the Hartwick and Cooperstown libraries will be collected via property tax bills. The annual tax is expected to be about 16 cents per $1,000 assessed property value. For the average home in the district, this turns out to be about the cost of a hardcover book.
Even those who do not use the libraries benefit from the existence of a library in their community, in the same way they benefit from having a good public school. A library contributes to the character of a thriving community. Property values sink in communities that have poorly financed schools and/or no libraries.
This is because public libraries are a functional example of the American democratic ideal. The libraries in Cooperstown and Hartwick offer everyone — regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status — free access to the libraries’ individual collections as well as to the holdings of the 40 other libraries in the Four County Library System. The libraries also provide free Wi-Fi connections and computer access, an essential community service. Additionally, the libraries provide special programs for adults and children.
If the ballot measure does not pass, we face losing our vital library services. If you have questions about the resolution, I encourage you to ask your librarian, contact me or other library board members. Please vote yes for your libraries on May 20.
Jastremski is president of the board of directors of the Village Library of Cooperstown.