Soon the voters of Cañon City will be asked to decide whether or not they want to spend about $4.5 million for the repair and expansion of our historic city library. I am proud to announce my support of the library project.
Notwithstanding the fact that our City Charter requires us to provide a library to our constituents, I believe that public libraries play a vital role in connecting our local learning environment with international resources of information and knowledge.
During Andrew Carnegie’s lifetime, the significance of education and unrestricted access to knowledge was never debated. How to pay for the institutions where this knowledge could be stored and accessed by the public, however, was the subject of endless debate. Now, in the midst of one of the greatest economic downturns in our lifetimes, we are seeing an increasing demand for affordable lifelong learning, and our local library continues to fulfill this need.
Our library is crucial to our city’s economic success, our municipal vitality, and our future. It is a valuable companion to our schools and community organizations in advancing literacy skills at an early age, and literacy is connected to basic job skills, which help our community remain competitive in the free market. Our free public library provides a safe place where our citizens of all ages can explore different cultures through multimedia resources, and provides access to the infinite world of the Internet, where we can perfect our resumes and apply for jobs. It opens the door for civic dialogue, as people communicate new ideas, opinions and values. Make no mistake, libraries change lives.
What I appreciate most about this library proposal is that we taxpayers get to decide if it’s something we want to pay for or not. I believe we need this library in our community, and we need to be proactive about keeping it in its historic downtown location. It will cost me a quarter for every $100 I spend in Cañon City, and I think that’s a bargain to help educate our next generation of leaders. I hope Cañon City voters agree with me.
Cañon City Mayor