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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 1:00 am


Consider library part of ongoing conversation

In the conversation about the Allen County Public Library, several comparisons have been made, none adequate.

Is the library like a garden, with some books considered weeds to be pulled so others can grow stronger? This is controversial even in gardening. Every book we have ever read contributes to our ability to think about whatever requires thought today. If we must use a gardening metaphor, let's consider “thinning.” We know we can't keep every copy of every book on the shelves forever, but we can and should be very careful in what we remove.

Is the library like a museum, where books are held because of their intrinsic value, even if they are not regularly checked out? No, but the definition of “regularly” is open to further conversation. Books are worth keeping for that necessary moment.

Is the library like a bookstore? Absolutely not. A bookstore is in the business of making a profit, and will give shelf space to the books that “everyone” is reading, which may not be the most important books.

So what is a library? Maybe it is like an orchestra, where we might not notice right away if one violin were missing. Many might not notice if half of the strings stopped playing. But can an oboe play the part of a clarinet? Would our community be the same without the Philharmonic? After all, we have recordings. We can listen to music on our phones, in our cars. By comparison, our library is not the same if a third of our books are missing. Having a digitized copy of a book available somewhere is not the same as having the book itself in its proper place on a library shelf.

I would define a library as a magnificent conversation, spanning the globe, including thousands of languages, joining minds in centuries past and future. We in this moment are privileged to contribute to it by reading, thinking and talking about books we love. Some of us, present and future readers, will join the conversation by writing new books. If that is to happen, we must have access to a full collection of great books, no matter how momentarily popular they are.

Helen Frost

Fort Wayne


Hays will bring council diversity, pragmatism

This year, voters have wonderful opportunities to support highly qualified candidates who also happen to look like them. As chair of the nonpartisan AVOW Women's Campaign Institute, I am so proud of all of the female candidates. I am particularly excited about Patti Hays, a graduate of the Women's Campaign Institute and candidate for 4th District City Council.

Patti is exactly what our City Council needs: A leader with a track record of producing results to make our city even better, a voice of reason and civility to tackle tough issues and protect our community's health and safety, and a positive influencer to help local government promote all that is good about our city.

Our community is lucky to have such a woman of character who is willing to serve in public life.

Marilyn Moran-Townsend

Chair, AVOW Women's Campaign Institute


CHEERS to whoever the kind person was who paid for breakfast for us at the Liberty Diner on April 1.

Your kindness was much appreciated. We will pay it forward.

Larry Comstock

New Haven

Jim Graves

Columbia City


Election letters

Letters related to the May 7 primary election must be received by noon on April 29 to be considered for publication.