Letters To The Editor
November 26, 2008 - MidWeek
Bob Jones’ comments in his “When Emotions Cost Us Money” column are both unfortunate and inaccurate. The Hawaii State Public Library System’s (HSPLS) budget is a separate appropriation and is in no way taken from the Department of Education; it is a small fraction of the state of Hawaii’s overall budget, and studies nationwide have shown that public libraries return anywhere from $3 to $7 worth of materials, programs and services for each dollar appropriated. Public libraries are a sound investment in Hawaii’s future.
Especially in times of economic crisis, people turn to their public libraries. Reports from Hilo to Wailuku to Pearl City to Koloa indicate significant increases in Internet use, and circulation for the most recent four-month period has risen by more than 100,000 items over last year. Clearly Hawaii’s public libraries are providing exactly the services which our customers desire and need most at this critical time.
Providing our patrons with access to popular materials is essential to our mission of providing information, education, programs and services for all Hawaii’s people; indeed, it is critical to the mission of any quality public library system. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has determined that between 25 percent and 40 percent of the population have no Internet access in their homes. If these people are doing their “major research online,” they are doing so in one of Hawaii’s public libraries.
HSPLS is moving into the future by providing 24/7 access to online reference services, more than 50 online databases, electronic and digital books, our updated website (http://www.librarieshawaii.org), and personal library account records; almost all are available remotely. Since the beginning of the year, Salt Lake-Moanalua Public Library has offered wireless Internet access, and plans were in place to expand this pilot project until funding was restricted. We are actively pursuing both federal and private funding to modernize our infrastructure.
Hawaii’s public libraries are an essential component of the state’s information environment, providing educational, cultural, informational and recreational materials for our customers in all walks of life and at each stage of their lives.
If Hawaii’s economic future will be increasingly reliant on the creativity and inventiveness of our population, as Gov. Lingle proposes, Hawaii’s public libraries are uniquely poised to be a part of that evolution.
My husband and I just returned from a trip to some Muslim countries, and when I read the letters of Ms. Jackson and Mr. Damell I thought, like Lt. Col. Anthony, I should write to you.
We not only had contact with many people, but were invited by a Moroccan and Jordan family, during Ramadan. Many times we were astonished how determined they followed strict Islamic rules, however all condemned the terrorists who run under the Islamic flag.
We could see firsthand they are regular people like us, going to work to make ends meet, giving their children a good education and having dreams about a better world.
I want to compliment Lt. Col. Anthony for his letter. It is a step forward. And I’d like also to mention another step forward, the recent peace award of my hometown Augsburg to Prince Hassan of Jordan for his achievements in this matter.
Unfortunately many people make judgments about some things they really don’t know much about.
Margit Von Schafnitzel
This is a response to the recent letters from Janet Jackson and Dennis Darnell. All gods, religions and religious writings were created by humans and are nothing but beliefs. It is this kind of bigotry, ignorance, hate and intolerance that leads to religious holy wars like our invasion of Iraq and the continued internal terrorism there.
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