This is a letter written by Judith Kissner, owner of Scout and Morgan Books in Cambridge. She says she wrote the piece for the upcoming issue of Bookwomen Magazine (Minnesota Women’s Press)which will have a feature in their next issue about supporting public libraries. She also sent the letter to the Isanti County News, where it was published last week.
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Local bookstore, library work together to promote literacy
Thursday, 26 August 2010
As the owner of an independent bookstore in a small community, I have noticed that people often think that we are somehow in competition with our local library, and that they need to offer an apology for checking a book out at the library rather than buying it from us.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I can’t imagine wanting to live in a community that didn’t have a public library. In the same way that you can tell a lot about a person by the books on their shelves, you can tell a lot about a community by their public library. Do they have an active Friends Group? What kinds of services do they provide? Are there lots of new arrivals displayed? Do they have book groups? How about a City- Wide Read? Do they celebrate Banned Books Week?
Our bookstore is a business member of our Friends of the Library and I volunteer on the City-Wide Read committee. Many of our loyal customers and supporters are strong supporters and users of our local libraries. We often suggest to customers that they check a book out at the library first before making a decision to purchase a copy. We regularly promote our local library’s author events and book groups, as well as remind people of what a resource a public library is, especially in tough economic times. Public libraries are essential to a healthy democracy where everyone, regardless of income has access to information and ideas. Public libraries are often at the forefront in defending the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of the press and speech. We see public libraries as partners and librarians as colleagues.
To candidates running for local and state offices, we ask, “What will you do to insure that our public libraries receive the funding they need to thrive?” The answer to that question speaks volumes.
Judith Kissner, Owner
Scout & Morgan Books
Used with permission of author
Posted by: Barbara Misselt, Director