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Gunnell’s Letter to the editor also misleading

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“The news articles in the Dec. 21, 2011, Henry County Local concerning the need for a new Henry County Library was totally misleading” (Wayne Gunnell, Jan. 4 issue).

The article was not completely misleading, it was written from the point of view of a person who was not there. Should there have been a HC Local representative in attendance? Yes. But they were not, and that is not something that can be changed now.

Fact: There was also a small turnout due to the fact that the library only announced the meeting the day before. Most people make plans at least two days prior, and I know for a fact that there was at least one other meeting going on in the country that night (Hands that Serve, Hearts That Care Backpack Ministry).

As a person who was in attendance of this meeting, I observed that there were those who were concerned about building a new library. And then there were those who were completely supportive and excited about the prospect of a new building. Those concerned seemed, for the majority, to have a personal connection to the current building.

In response to the concerns Mr. Gunnell pointed out:

• The land adjacent to the library that could be purchased is grassland that has grown on top of an old landfill. Mrs. Lou Gunnell told those in attendance that when the EMS building had been built they had only been able to dig down about a foot before hitting the old landfill. While this may not be a concern for some, I would think that the land of the old landfill would be somewhat unstable for the size of a project such as this.

• The architect in attendance said that renovating the existing library is not completely out of the question. He said that this option would have to be examined further, as the current building may not be able to hold building upward renovations. The current building is older, and building codes have changed since it was originally built.

• Though electronic readers such as the Kindle are becoming more popular, there are older and younger readers who would not understand how to operate such a device. Even those who own Kindles (as I do) still like to read an actual book. Furthermore, when I do not have money to purchase a book on Kindle, the library is the first place I go to. As is, the library has to get rid of practically new books in order to make room for newer books. The current building has simply outgrown the needs the community has for it.

Other ideas that were presented at the meeting:

• An outside garden/reading area.

• More parking.

• A room to be used solely for genealogy purposes.

• A separate room for computer work.

• A complete teen area.

• A new kitchen, as the current one is too small for the classes the library has been hosting.

Yes, we are in a financial crisis and during such residents of the county turn to public buildings and services to be able to do activities that they cannot currently afford. Though, admittedly, I know little about taxes, the library has received a grant for a new building, which will offset the cost somewhat.

The meeting that was held was only an interest meeting; nothing has been set in stone yet. There will be another meeting before anything is completely decided, and I hope in addition to a Local representative being in attendance, the library will be sure to advertise the meeting so that more people will know about it.

Olivia Herrell
Bethlehem