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Durusau: Library essential to county economy
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Elected officials and would-be elected officials like to march in parades.

At the Fourth of July parade in Oxford, a shout of "Save the library" rang out.

A local politician looked around for the caller and asked, "Why?"

For the benefit of elected and would-be elected officials, here are five reasons why we should save the library:

No. 1: One of the places on the Chamber of Commerce visiting list for prospective businesses (read employers) is the Newton County Library. Businesses know that to attract good employees, good schools and libraries are a must.

No. 2: Small businesses can't maintain all the business, management, finance and skill materials that they need to be successful businesses. The library is a first responder to the information needs of small businesses.

No. 3: In case anyone hasn't noticed, the economy is changing, from unskilled service type jobs to ones that require skills, particularly those involving information technology and the Internet. The library is a venue to acquire those skills.

No. 4: An uneducated population means low paying, low skill jobs. Public and private schools rely upon the library as part of their plans to educate our children. An educated population will mean higher paying jobs, a better tax base as well as more opportunities for new businesses.

No. 5: Illiteracy is the single most common trait of people in prison.

And crime is a reason why businesses (read employers) don't want to locate in particular areas. We can either support schools and libraries now, or prisons later.

Libraries, schools, recreation, even government are necessary for "job creators" to create jobs. What part of that is unclear?

Patrick Durusau is president of Friends of the Library.