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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Libraries help create equal access to information for all

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bemidji Pioneer. To submit a letter, email letters@bemidjipioneer.com or mail it to Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.

091022.OP.BP.LETTER.BENSON
We are part of The Trust Project.

We are writing to express our shock the Beltrami County Board has proposed cutting the library budget by 35% next year.

The full impact of limiting library hours is not yet fully known. A well-known source stated it could close the Blackduck library altogether. Bemidji’s current facility is the ONLY full-service library north of Brainerd and south of Winnipeg in our locale.

Bemidji prides itself on possessing the similar advantages of a metropolis as being the First City on the Mississippi River. The Explore Minnesota website even notes Bemidji as being “a progressive Northwoods city … and offers small town atmosphere with the amenities of the big city.” This will no longer be true if we don’t have a fully functional library system.

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It’s no secret that Beltrami County is one of the poorest counties in Minnesota. This makes the library’s current expanded services and free access to resources vital to the public’s quality of life. As a democratic institution, it enables equity of access where everything inside is available to everyone.

Dramatically reducing library funds will cripple the most vulnerable populations first, beyond the impact it will have on all patrons.

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The Bemidji Public Library enables people to:

  • Educate oneself through print media, books, magazines and newspapers by providing reading space and the ability to check out books and other materials.
  • Access information technologies, such as research databases, electronic books, word processors and other data on the internet and through Kitchigami’s extensive library and database system.
  • Utilize the new Legal Kiosk.
  • Stay connected with family and friends via web resources.
  • Apply for jobs, create and revise personal resumes, enable communication with prospective employers and complete online forms.

Please do not cut funds to our “People’s University” which helps create equal access to information and cross the digital divide in our economically challenged county.

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The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bemidji Pioneer. To submit a letter, email letters@bemidjipioneer.com or mail it to Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.