Contributed by Marty Richman:
Give our kids a chance. Fund a new county library and resource center.
San Benito County needs a modern library and community resource center to provide better opportunities to our residents, especially school-aged children. Our more than 40-year old facility is totally inadequate for our population or the technology requirements of today, much less those of tomorrow. Ready or not, tomorrow will come.
Our limited library space is in great demand, racking up more than 98,000 visits, 136,000 checkouts, and 21,000 class and program attendees in the year 2017-2018. It could do even better if it had more space in a modern, safe, well-equipped facility.
One’s future is often determined by opportunity – a modern library provides opportunities for the entire community to increase their literacy, knowledge, and interests and those are the keys to a better life.
If you wait for the politicians to do it, you’ll be waiting forever. Most elected officials play it safe; they are reluctant to get out ahead of the voters – meaning no commitment and no funding, just pie in the sky. That’s where we’ve stood for years when it comes to the funding a new county library; excuses, deflection, benign neglect, but no action.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’re aware of the admissions scandals rocking some of California’s most prestigious universities including UCLA, USC, and Stanford. Wealthy and powerful individuals were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to gain admission for their unqualified kids. Every year people of lesser means try to illegally enroll their children into the state’s best public-school districts by using fake addresses. In all these cases they’re doing it because they understand the critical importance of opportunity.
When it comes to opportunities, literacy and exposure to a wide range of information and interests through technology are the keys to a good education. That’s exactly what a library does. It provides those extra opportunities.
If you want our community to have the benefits of a better education so our kids have the opportunities they deserve, you’re going to have to get off the couch and demand your elected representatives help build a library facility that will fulfill those aspirations.
It’s not up to the politicians. It’s up to you.
Marty Richman is the Hollister City Council member in District 4.