Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Seattle library-tax debate
Happy to support
Everything I want to know is not on Google; however, using databases provided by Seattle Public Library I can find some of the information I seek [“No longer essential,” Northwest Voices, July 24].
I also have access, through Seattle Public Library’s Interlibrary Loan, to books from as far away as New Zealand and Australia. As a University of Washington alumna, I can use the fantastic resources of the University of Washington libraries, but it is often more convenient for me to request a book from Seattle Public Library, which I can pick up from a branch within walking distance of my house. These two libraries complement each other more than they duplicate.
I don’t know the source of Ralph Nelson’s statement that 42 percent of all books are now sold by computer download. I do know that there are many books not available electronically and I will continue to borrow them from Seattle Public Library.
I am happy to have the privilege of supporting our fine library.
— Mary Alice Sanguinetti, Seattle
Libraries contribute to communities
I wish to express strong disagreement with Ralph Nelson’s letter on this subject and I would venture to guess that Nelson has not visited a library recently.
I live near the Ballard branch and visit there at least once a week. The scene there is instructive about the contribution that neighborhood branches make to their communities. There are many parents with their children browsing the excellent display of books for young people. At the many computers are students, researchers and others who may not have access to a computer. There are others who bring their own computer to access the library’s free Internet service. Some come to take advantage of newspapers or magazines which they may not be able to afford. Further, both the branches and the main library offer a rich program of speakers, discussion groups and learning opportunities.
Our newer branch libraries are well designed, offer a pleasant environment and, importantly, accessible and free parking. As to the world moving to the Internet for access to books and information, I own two computers and a iPad so I also appreciate the opportunity for free downloads and library searches; but the Internet world adds to our growing isolation from each other and our neighbors and communities.
Our branch libraries are part of an ever-thinning community fabric which, while hard to value in dollar terms, is one of the few remaining institutions where human transactions can take place. As to financial impact on the community, if we can afford a $200 million investment in yet another sports facility, we surely can afford an institution that nurtures the mind and contributes to a segment of the community for whom sports may not be a focus.
— Howard Phelps, Seattle