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Dont change the local library

By Barbara Kelley

I am delighted with your new section on sustainability. It is the issue of our time. If we lose the earth, we will have lost it all.

On a related issue, I would like to address the matter of the proposed new community center. The mayor has wisely asked for feedback.

Please don't take away our prized Lake Oswego Library, officially recognized as the best for its size in Oregon. To some of us, one of its best attributes is that we can walk to it, under our great trees. If the new center has a plan lurking to shut down our present library and drag all of its many parts to a new location, I for one, will vote against funding. The flourishing Lake Oswego Library is enthusiastically and fully patronized at its present location. It does not seem crowded or noisy to me. I like to see all those families taking out stacks of books to read to their children; all those elders, keeping their curious minds lively; all those in-betweeners seeking resources and researching, even escaping in an acceptable way. The library is more than the sum of its parts. To take it apart might destroy its soul. (I'm just sure it has one!)

As for parking, I have always been able to find a space if I needed to have a car on the same trip to pick up groceries. I don't think we need more parking spaces, I think we need more walkers and bikers. It is a lovely walk under the great trees, along many beautiful gardens. It is free to walk or bike. But, most important, the autos are killing us. To see how this works, do see Al Gore's brilliant presentation on global climate change in his film, 'An Inconvenient Truth.'

Of course a branch library at the new location would be wonderful to have for the people near there. What I would especially like to see offered there is an assortment of art and athletic opportunities for young people as these tend to be steadily waning from present curriculums. When I was 10 years old, I was able to get violin lessons almost for free at a community center. When I was in high school, both gym and orchestra were a regular daily part of our school day. I was enriched for life. And school was fun. Of course we had math and science also, but my best lifelong values were developed in the arts. And with gym every day, we were not overweight. To the extent that we are taking these away from young people who do not have the financial means to replace them, we need to make these offerings at very low cost, or free, so that arts and sports are equal opportunity experiences at a formative life stage. Music, dance, theatre, visual arts for the happiness and growth of children! Math and science, while important, do not a complete human being make.

Judie Hammerstad, thank you for sending us all a survey for feedback. I just couldn't squeeze my very vocal self onto those straight little lines!

Barbara Kelley is a resident of Lake Oswego.