by Leah Schroeder ‘13
Libraries used to be community gathering places where people could conduct research for various projects and find books to read over the weekend. All the same, library use has been exponentially declining. On January 1, the Olney Library closed its doors for renovations and won’t reopen until fall 2012. In the past, this move would have been devastating to the community, but today, it was hardly noticed. The county itself has been ignoring libraries, limiting the money they are given and pushing back renovations to focus on other projects. Bookstores and the internet have taken over the role of libraries. Now, the public largely ignores the countless services libraries provide. They allow quiet places to study, and provide computer and internet access. But above all, the public has come to lose its appreciation for a library’s long-standing role of sharing books with people in the community. While it is still possible for Olney residents to use other libraries in Montgomery County, this is not the central issue. It’s time for the public to be reintroduced to the importance of libraries as the center of a community.