LLANO — Sometimes, when elected leaders make a decision that rankles feathers, it takes those with the rankled feathers to make a difference. That’s exactly what a group of Llano County citizens did last year when they learned county commissioners slashed the library system’s budget.
“The economic downturn really, really hurt Llano County,” said Pam Fowler, a member of the Llano County Library Foundation board. “Because of less taxes coming in, the commissioners cut the three libraries’ budget by 40 percent, and they said they’ll probably have to cut it again.”[box]IF YOU GO WHAT: Street dance supporting the Llano County Library System WHEN: 7-11 p.m. June 21 WHERE: Haynie Street (located at south end of Texas 16 bridge over Llano River in Llano) ADMISSION: $10 in advance and $15 at the gate FOR TICKETS OR MORE: Visit www.llanocountylibrarysystemfoundation.org[/box] “Public libraries are extremely important for the community, especially Llano County,” Fowler pointed out. “These are community centers.”
On June 21, the foundation is hosting a street dance on Haynie Street in Llano (located at the south end of the Texas 16 bridge over the Llano River). The dance is 7-11 p.m. and features Western swing music performed by the Trainwreck Shipping Company Band.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. Tickets may be purchased through the foundation’s website at www.llanocountylibrarysystemfoundation.org.
Fowler said this is just one step in creating a sustaining future for the Llano County libraries.
With the advent of Internet and other technology, libraries still play a critical role in communities. Fowler pointed out many Llano County residents still don’t have reliable access to the Internet for a variety of reasons. The libraries offer the service to its patrons.
It’s not just about Internet access. The libraries offer numerous programs, especially for children and youth. Fowler said those programs provide children with a way to enhance their education.
“We still have several pockets of poverty in Llano County,” Fowler said. “The library offers those children access to computers and programs that give them a better chance. We can’t just walk away from them.”
While some people suggested closing the three libraries on Fridays and Saturdays as a cost-saving measure, Fowler pointed out those two days are popular for patron usage. Many of the special programs, from children’s events to gardening, are offered Fridays and Saturdays.
The foundation is working alongside each of the branches’ Friends group.
The battle to keep Llano County libraries open and operating goes deeper than simply having books on the shelves and offering programs. Fowler said a healthy, vibrant democracy depends on a knowledgeable public, and libraries provide a place for citizens to develop that knowledge.
Libraries give readers access to books of various viewpoints and perspectives, Fowler said, so people can explore different sides and gather numerous sources before drawing their own conclusions.
“There’s probably no other way to get that without public libraries,” Fowler said. “We can’t keep continuing governing ourselves without knowledge.”
For more, go to www.llanocountylibrarysystemfoundation.org.