Library vital for families, character of Uptown

The library is a great way to get all people out there to read. It’s where I read my first books. The library’s programs were educational and recreational. I know that when the funds were cut, our “library friends” and I were disappointed. We all miss the librarians Miss Vicki, Miss Susan, Miss Cher, etc. The library is one of the most important places in Oxford. The library is an inspiring, wonderful place to learn, read or just meet a friend. All I can say is, all of us out there want the library to go back to normal.

Molly A. Monson, age 9

I am writing to express the sense of urgency with which Oxford citizens should react to the levy on the May 4 ballot to help the Lane Library.

As a mother, I was delighted to see the selection of books, books on tape, puzzles, puppets and videos available (even broader with the network of two other branches) at the Lane Library when we first moved to Oxford. I immediately signed up my daughter for story time, and we attended a presentation with live animals from the zoo. Through these well-attended, charming events I was able to connect with other moms who valued the library and what it offered their children.

As time passed, I was blessed with three more children and the privilege of sharing with them my love of books via the children’s department at the Lane. The librarians not only knew my kids’ names, but their interests. Friday morning story times became a frequent event on our family calendar. Enrichment activities like book club, art classes, concerts and puppet shows rounded out our family schedule. A rainy day could always be brightened with a visit to the library.

With recent budget cuts, all of that has changed. We are rarely able to get to the library due to severely cut hours, specifically the elimination of morning hours. Morning story time is gone. Book club for tweens has been cancelled. The librarians no longer know our names, nor do we know theirs, because the librarians we adored have been let go in staff cuts.

If America’s future is our children, we need to offer them an engaging way to learn and explore their interests. The library is free and open to all citizens, yet is becoming less accessible and less enriching due to the lack of funds to even keep its doors open, let alone offer exciting learning opportunities within those doors.

I urge the members of the Oxford community to vote for the library on the May 4 ballot to breathe life back into this wonderful institution.

Laura L. Smith

As parents who have chosen to live in Oxford near the mile square, we are writing to urge all residents to vote YES May 4 for the Lane Libraries Operating Levy.

Living near the center of town brings our family many free pleasures, and high on that list has been walking to the Lane Library to enjoy story hours, browse magazines, play with toys, check out books and DVDs and research online with the computers, all at no charge. With fewer hours of operation, we have had to remove some days from those we used to visit. We would not wish to see further degradation of hours or services.

Miami University students benefit from the Lane Libraries in a variety of ways. There is free Wi-Fi available to all who walk in, and the Lane’s proximity to uptown offers a quiet spot for students to work. Miami clearly benefits from having strong community services that attract faculty as well as students to our area.

The Lane now needs everyone’s help to avoid degradation of current services. We urge everyone to vote YES May 4!

Bill Fisher and Kalinde Webb

We, the Secular Students of Miami, feel it is necessary to respond to the misrepresentation of Christopher Hitchens’ speech that appeared in the Friday, March 19 edition of The Miami Student.

Daniel Mackenize begins his letter to the editor with an important and critical misquotation. Christopher Hitchens never referred to “people of faith as the enemy,” as Mackenzie claims. Hitchens does, on the other hand, say “faith is the problem,” and there is an important difference here. Hitchens is an attacker of ideas, not people, and no idea should be held so sacred or taboo that it is above criticism. Besides, is there any better forum to question ideas of all sorts besides a national, public university? If we can’t talk about these things here, then where can we?

The fact is religion has always been a very sensitive topic, because there are many people who take it so personally. We feel it is almost impossible to criticize religion at all without having those criticisms labeled as attacks by one person or another. In this sense, we understand how some people were offended by Hitchens’ message, and we expected this type of response to a degree. However, we do not feel this is adequate justification for censoring a speaker, as was suggested by some.

The assertion that the things Hitchens said during his speech could be labeled as hate speech is a gross misrepresentation. For one, Hitchens never condoned violence of any kind during his lecture, and in fact, spent most of his time deploring the violent (and hateful) acts committed by religious people of the world in the name of their faith. Secondly, Hitchens backed up his statements with logical arguments and again, did not simply “hurl insults,” as suggested by Mr. Mackenzie. You have a right to disagree with the arguments made at the event, and that is where we hope to create a more visible dialogue about religion and non-religion on campus. You do not, on the other hand, have the right to NOT be offended. We understand many on campus are not accustomed to discussing religion in such a candid manner, but that is the entire reason we knew Hitchens’ visit would benefit the university. We applaud the university for giving students the opportunity to see this influential and respected journalist, author and atheist speak, thereby increasing the diversity of thought on this campus.

Abigail Zofkie