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Support education by supporting libraries

February 26, 2014

To the editor:


Several weeks ago, SC Gov. Nikki Haley unveiled her executive budget for the upcoming year listing several major themes including making South Carolina safer and creating jobs and improving the business climate. However, before addressing any of these topics, Gov. Haley’s first stated theme was “Providing a Better Education.” This theme focused on new and different funding for local school districts in regards to a focus on reading and technology improvements, focuses which are extremely important and should be fully supported.


As a supplement to the focus on reading and technology improvement in schools, I would also encourage support for other community resources, such as First Steps as well as the local public libraries. Libraries throughout South Carolina and the country provide services that complement the education goals Gov. Haley outlined in her budget. The Union Carnegie Library offers story times and an early literacy computer for the youngest of children, and a variety of programming and reading materials for older students. Additionally, the library partners with the school district to provide a Summer Reading program, encouraging students to continue reading even when not in school.


While supporting Gov. Haley’s education initiatives, I would also encourage you to support additional state funding for libraries. Currently, libraries receive $1.25 per capita or a $75,000 minimum grant for smaller counties (such as Union). Ideally, funding would come at a rate of $1.50 per capita. This funding allows libraries to maintain adequate computer technology used by people of all ages, as well as providing reading materials and programs for students and adults, resources which support education and promote lifelong learning.


Sincerely,

Ben Loftis

Director, Union County Carnegie Library