Dear Editor: The Aug. 5 edition carried two of the best letters to the editor that I have ever read. Written by Ms. Tamela Mills and Mr. Sam Hay, the letters showed concern about the downsizing and deterioration of the Newton County libraries. Both Ms. Mills and Mr. Hay have been friends of mine for years, and they only write letters and express concerns based on fact and logic, no on suppositions, innuendos and emotions.
I have routinely used the Covington Branch Library since its inception. Ms. Lee Ellen Digby and I have, over the years, put historical and Christmas displays in the glass cases at the entrance. When I go into the library, I always look to the left and feel pride about the children's section and the large number of children using it. Two weeks ago, I went to the library to use the legal reference section, and all I found was empty space. An employee told me the section was done away with due to downsizing. It took the staff 30 minutes to find Black's Law Dictionary. I walked around the library and found an atmosphere of confusion and defeat.
I have worked in poverty areas of Newton County (mostly with underprivileged children) for over 50 years. We, at the Pine Valley Mission, have given out school clothing, schools supplies, books and other children's needs for over 20 years. The children we deal with have no reference books, computers or other learning aids in their homes. Many of them are lucky to have a roof over their heads. Their households live from hand to mouth. Over the years, I have seen these children using the county library. Their numbers are increasing, not decreasing.
Any society is judged by how it treats the elderly, the poor and their children. All of these visit and use the Newton County libraries. These facts alone should dictate a growing library, not one in decline due to cutbacks. Any politician who votes to cutback funds for a viable library must have pea soup for brains.
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Hay when he questioned the agenda of the "rails to trails" fanatics. Turner Lake Park is located in the heart of Covington and has miles of walking and bike trails that are maintained by our tax dollars. I have walked these trails daily since the part opened. Most of the time, the trails are deserted. Practically no one uses them.
What makes a politician think that anyone would use an abandoned railroad track in rural Newton County when they refuse to use the state-of-the-art trails at Turner Lake?
I believe it was the NAACP who coined the phrase "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." As far as our commissioners are concerned, I hope logic and wisdom prevail over special interests and emotions.