Letter: Please keep the Swannanoa Library open

Graphic by Lori Deaton

My wife and I are grateful for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Swannanoa Library. We would greatly appreciate you using your voice and your newspaper to help keep the Swannanoa Library open. Please allow me to begin by saying that I fully believe that budgeting for our wonderful Buncombe County must be incredibly difficult in the times that we live, but, to quote Henry Ward Beecher, I believe “a library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life,” and our Swannanoa Library is truly a necessity of our life and the lives of our community.

Our Swannanoa Library is more than just a building with books. It’s more than just a quiet space from the noise of our world. It’s more than just a service of the county. Our Swannanoa Library is a place where our children and many other children have discovered the joy of learning. Where they have developed the skills to research their questions, as opposed to Googling and getting immediate responses that aren’t necessarily complete or true answers to their questions. Where they have enjoyed the artistry of books, many times lost in the Kindles and electronic media of the world today.

Our Swannanoa Library is led by wonderful librarians who are lights in the community and in our lives. With joy and patience, I’ve watched them help, serve and inspire our family and everyone else who walks through that door. Our Swannanoa Library is a beacon in the community that symbolizes hope — hope that all I need is curiosity and time to learn in order to better myself; hope that no matter my condition, my privilege or lack thereof, I have access to the tools, to the books and to the librarians that can enrich my life through greater knowledge and to use that knowledge to enrich the lives of others.

Our Swannanoa Library is more than just a budget item; it’s a heartbeat of the community. I urge Buncombe County to reconsider stopping that heartbeat. As Albert Einstein said, “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”

We appreciate your consideration.

— Coleman and Therie Smith
Black Mountain


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