Your public library is more valuable than ever before. Community failure to support and utilize library resources results in a library shunted aside to some weed-covered parking lot where windows reflect internal neglect and decay.

Most library patrons are not organized. As a result, funding is very dependent upon the whims and largess of elected officials. One idea of the golden rule is alive and well. He (or she) who has the gold makes the rule.

The Houston Chronicle (June 22, 2008) describes the library dilemma. Basically, it is the lack of funding. Library staffs plan to attract every user that can fit into the building. Even minuscule library funding subtracts dollars from pet projects of elected officials.

The canard about libraries being obsoleted by technology is a dead issue. There are many adults and a few youngsters who refuse to get near to a computer.

There is not a powerful computer (Internet, E-mail, Google, and the like) in every house or apartment. Actually, the library does it all and users use it free.

In our Huntsville library, we have the technology to research highly technical material. This library provides hardware (computers) and software (programs). I doubt many of us have the financial resources (and expertise) to have all these assets at home.

Want to know about the branches and limbs on your family tree? Go to the library. They help you get started. Want to research the tax structure of Walker County and the State of Texas? It is there . . . and so much more.

Last month, I read books by John Grisham, Mark Twain, and W.E.B. Griffin. Admittedly, my library trip used expensive gasoline but it was far cheaper than buying these treasures. Besides that, each volume was far superior to drivel that drips down through cable TV.

Our Huntsville library offers courses and assistance to teach people (any age, any race, any color) how to read.

For you and me, not reading may be no big deal. For the functionally illiterate, it opens new vistas and opportunities for life.

Here is an example of library usage for the masses. Introductory courses at the most basic and elementary learning classes can be scheduled at almost any library. The only investment for this is time and effort. SHSU, for a reasonable fee, offers these and similar learning experiences.

In my college teaching experiences, I worked with athletes who could barely write their own name. Seems as how their high school “passed” them through on their physical skills. Without reading, a career after athletics is difficult to find,

The Houston Public Library has branches and funding that we in Walker County cannot even contemplate. With meager and limited resources, our library staffers are forced to work in crowded conditions and forego many desirable assets for a library. The one element shared by Houston and Huntsville is a desire to provide services for the community.

I cannot pick up a copy of The Huntsville Item without seeing some mention of a Huntsville Public Library program.

There are reading programs, instructions for genealogy and so much more. It would be possible for me to list them here but I encourage readers to visit the library in person or read the Item every day.

On a personal note, I have the computer resources where I could probably do detailed research on almost any topic or subject. However, my preference is to go to the library and browse their more extensive offerings. Frequently, I discover new materials to read.

Libraries have expanded their offerings to meet the general needs of their clientele. Perhaps you may not be aware, but they have CDs and DVDs in a limited film library. In addition, if you want to have books read to you, you can check those books out also.

Our local library is seriously suffering from a lack of space. In addition, if they were to fulfill their mission of community services, their budget would benefit from large infusions of increased funding.

Although I believe New Waverly has a magnificent facility complete with the latest technology, I see few public notices of library sponsored activities that would benefit the population.

History suggests that Huntsville has been extremely good at securing awards, grants, and other people’s money to pay for assets.

The facility in New Waverly was built mostly with sweat equity, fund-raisers, and foundation grants. We can do no less. The time to act is now, as prices will only increase.

Next time you see one of our elected officials, take time to put in a few words for the Huntsville Public Library. Funding for this resource cuts across all boundaries and benefits the entire community.

This library project is so important we may have to pay for the whole thing.

Grady Easley is retired from gainful employment. Contact him at 219 Elkins Lake, Huntsville, Texas 77340