Upset over library closing
The pending closure of the Thomas Hughes House Reading Center in Jefferson has left many patrons upset.
For over six years it has been my pleasure and privilege to work there. In February we served over 150 patrons who checked out 170 books and DVDs, which certainly makes it a viable operation for a small community. Each year we have had new patrons sign up for cards. At one time we had three other reading centers in the county and a bookmobile. We have delivered reading materials to the senior centers and nursing homes, to homebound individuals, to preschools, post offices and the county jail.
We have sponsored programs for children and teenagers, including story hours at preschools and elementary schools. So we have had an effective outreach program in place that provides services for all age groups. Since we are not closing due to lack of funding, I cannot fathom the reasoning behind this move.
I have been fortunate to work for a system administrator who cares about the employees and patrons and whose professionalism was mirrored by the amount of time she spent helping readers find what they were looking for and encouraging them to opt for new choices. Her computer expertise has aided patrons in locating web sites and information they weren’t technically knowledgeable enough to find on their own. Her entire family came over from Uniontown to help with book sales and summer programs. We have also been blessed with a board of directors who understood the warm family atmosphere and appeal of the Hughes House and supported us in every endeavor.
Many patrons have expressed concerns about now having to drive to the Carmichaels or Waynesburg libraries, which are not convenient since each is about a 20-mile round trip from Jefferson. Some of our patrons do not have transportation, so they walk to our library. Because we are smaller, we know our patrons and can personalize our service. It’s very rewarding to work in a profession that encourages people of all ages to read. To me, nothing is as exciting as opening a new book, full of unknown adventures and surprises, knowledge and suspense. Electronic reading devices are just not the same as holding a book in your hands and turning the pages. Movies and television may offer a myriad of visual tales, but books stimulate individual imagination. And imagination runs the world. I will miss the Thomas Hughes House and all the wonderful people I have met.
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