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If the past year has taught us anything, it is the value of libraries in our communities. The time confined to our homes and limited in-person interactions would have taken a much higher toll without access to books.
Libraries provide a central hub for connecting people, sharing information and building stronger communities. The inclusiveness of libraries provides the sense of belonging needed by all citizens. An investment in people will require prioritizing these types of services. A new library should come high on this list simply because it can be used by every citizen for multiple purposes, books being but only one aspect of it. Modern libraries fulfill roles in society previously held by churches and community groups that grew from them. Communities that have made the choice to invest in new, modern library buildings are proud of their accomplishment and the positive response from their communities.
Living in rural Cape Breton means that many of the municipal services citizens have come to expect as normal are not available to us, such as central water and sanitation systems. What we do have and value is a branch of the local library. The sense of belonging is even more critical in small rural communities such as Main-a-Dieu.
We will all benefit in more ways than can be listed if we as a community support the investment required to bring Sydney and area into the 21st century with a new, multi-use library. Libraries have become the new meeting place for our social, cultural and intellectual development.
We need to believe in our potential but also support and encourage it by providing the means to achieve our goals. A new library can do this for our community as it has done for so many others across Canada. It would be an investment in people of all ages.
The pandemic had shown us we are a strong, resilient community that can make tough choices. Building a new library is something we can and must do for not only our current residents, but also our future generations.
President, Main-a-Dieu Community Development Association