For whatever reasons (budgets?), use, maintenance, and staffing of many Alaska public school libraries are decreasing. This leaves the city public libraries as one of the primary sources of adult and K-12 student education, academic recreation, internet access, and diverse community social events. Homer has a new library and Kenai's library is undergoing a major expansion, both of which were funded by three major benefactors: 1) State of Alaska, 2) Rasmussen Foundation, and 3) Community donations and fundraisers through the dedicated work of local Friends of the Libraries.
The Joyce K. Carver Memorial Public Library in Soldotna is planning its first expansion since 1989, has acquired necessary adjoining property, and has completed the expansion architectural conceptual design. What is needed to complete this major effort is funding and community support. A city bond issue (Proposition 1) to partially fund this effort will appear on the October 5 ballot. But here is the "rub": About half the Library's patrons live outside Soldotna, and only Soldotna residents can vote on the bond issue.
To provide maximum benefits to the community, patron letters should be written and phone calls made to Representatives Chenault and Olson, to Senator Wagner, and to Mayor Carey for state and borough funds. The Rasmussen Foundation should be approached. And, all Soldotna City voters should vote yes! Libraries are free public service providers, and are long term, valuable assets to everyone in their service areas. A yes vote on October 5 will help provide substantial benefits to the Greater Soldotna Community for decades to come.
Richard Hahn, former Soldotna resident; Sequim, Wash.
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