Letter: Closing libraries will diminish our communities

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The library I grew up with: with shelves of books, oak tables and even that smell of books. It was a part of my life, and I understand why patrons of the Oakley, Swannanoa and Black Mountain libraries are resistant to change, especially changes to their “community.”

Even the new East Asheville library leaves me cold: compartmentalized with small rooms for gathering. Google will only show what is popular, not what is the best.

If I am allowed to quote Caitlan Moran, a British journalist, on libraries: “A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. … They are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen, instead. … A mall [or shopping on Amazon is] … where your money makes the wealthy wealthier. But a library is where the wealthy’s taxes pay for you to become a little more extraordinary, instead.”

Oakley, Swannanoa and Black Mountain would be diminished by the disappearance of these public places — a refuge for many of us.

— Roger Turner


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.