I read with great interest M.R. Johnson's Aug. 12 letter about the woeful conditions at the Augusta-Richmond County Library. I also thought about the recent concerns expressed over the use of taxpayer money to fund trips (not to be confused with junkets) of some of our local elected officials.
I have a proposal: Let's send all of our Augusta-Richmond County Commission members and school board members on an all-expense paid trip to Columbia, S.C.
That's right; just one hour up Interstate 20 you'll find one of the finest libraries any community could ask for. It is a beautiful facility of four levels just overflowing with books, periodicals, reference materials, microfilm, real computers, clean bathrooms, and believe it or not, a more than adequate number of employees and security personnel to meet your needs and to make you feel secure as you move about. What's missing from this picture?
The panhandlers and street people who are making our library a less-than-safe place for anyone, let alone our wives and children, are not in evidence. Surely, you think to yourself, this library in Columbia must be located in some upscale part of the city. No, it's right downtown on Assembly Street, but once you go inside those doors, you feel you are in an environment committed to the pursuit of knowledge and wholesome personal and family fulfillment.
Augusta has made its commitments, for example, to Riverwalk, to the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, and to Fort Discovery. These are all wonderful, but let's make a far more important commitment to ourselves and to our children; let's move forward on building and maintaining a library to equal or surpass that of Columbia's. If we want a challenge, we have only to look to their example.
T.R. Martin, Augusta