During a recent Christmas visit to my sister’s rural home in Southeast Virginia, I learned that she and her husband were planning to sell their country dream home and move into town to retire. While sis was busy in the kitchen, I made conversation with my brother-in-law, asking, “If you could pick your ideal place to live, what would it be like?” His answer surprised me. He replied, “Well, it would be close to the grocery store, the doctor’s office and the library.” That statement was interesting to me because the local library was right up there in the top three necessities.
Sometimes, when a person is actively participating in something, they have difficulty seeing it from the outsider’s viewpoint. As Board President, I just might have a bias toward the library! It is nice to hear unsolicited affirmations of value to the things I spend much of my energy supporting.
Last week when our library committee met with our county administrator, I asked him, “What is infrastructure?” He replied, “It’s roads, water, power and facilities like the library.” I questioned him further, and he explained that he felt the library was as crucial as any of the other facilities in a community, right up there with electricity and water.
We hear a lot about infrastructure these days and how our “crumbling infrastructure” needs upgrading. I decided to seek out a more precise definition of the word.
Wikipedia defines infrastructure as “the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city or another area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy to function. It typically characterizes technical structures such as roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, telecommunications (including Internet connectivity and broadband speeds), and so forth and can be defined as ‘the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain or enhance societal living conditions.’”
Personally, I agree that libraries are a part of infrastructure because they provide free access to information and essential telecommunications services. In addition, a library contributes to social and economic prosperity and serves the needs of all ages.
The American Planning Association explains the Principles for New Federal Infrastructure Investment Policy this way: “We strongly believe that well-planned infrastructure projects strengthen communities, boost the economy and expand opportunity. They also promote a return on the public investment, in contrast with unplanned infrastructure that can waste public funds, damage communities and the environment, and otherwise lead to inefficient growth.
Looking across the country and the globe we see that the cities and regions that are thriving are those investing in critical infrastructure such as roads, transit, sidewalks, parks and recreation, water, energy, freight and communications that connect people and goods to economic and social opportunity.”
Strengthening the economy and expanding opportunity is just what we are talking about every time the library committee meets. What assets do we have in Craig that are unique and valuable, and how can we protect them? How do we grow into the future and at the same time, keep our small town rooted in our heritage? You can join the conversation. Send us an email at [email protected], attend one of our board meetings or subscribe to our newsletter at [email protected]
-Marge Lewter, Board President
●Volunteers are always welcome. Fill out a volunteer form so that we know what you are interested in and how to contact you.
●Historic Treasures of Craig County photography contest for youth, teens and adults. Prizes and photos will be awarded and displayed. Deadline April 15, 2018. Send entries to [email protected] If you need help in submitting your photo, please contact the library.
●Board of Supervisors will be hearing from library representatives and from our planning grant partner, Hill Studios at their February and March meetings.
●Check out our Facebook page and website for current events. Craiglibrary.org
●Book sale and giant community yard sales are being planned for April, stay tuned!