Vote Yes for Our Library
On the cover: Louise Turner, beloved children’s librarian emeritus, library board member Ben Carroll and library patron Jon David Roland say Y-E-S to voting for a millage increase to support the Fort Smith Public Library. The election is Aug. 12. Photo by Glenn Gilley
Vote Yes – for the power of knowledge
and the progress of our city
From the founding of this magazine in 2000, co-publishers Linda Seubold and Lynn Wasson were convinced Fort Smith would support a quality city/regional publication because we already knew its public library was strong and appreciated. Library users and our audience are the same – inquisitive, intelligent citizens who value information and enjoy reading.
Only 14 years after we began publishing, reading is enjoyed on many new kinds of digital devices, as well as on paper. Entertainment and information take the form of literature, news, film, music and art now delivered in diverse ways. Our Fort Smith Public Library has kept pace with those changes, even though it has been operating on the same millage of property tax support since 1957 and now serves a population of 87,650 city residents rather than the 52,991 who lived here then. With the single mill now in effect, the average Fort Smith homeowner pays about $20 a year ($1.66 a month) in real property tax to support the Fort Smith Public Library. With the additional 2 mills this election can establish, the average homeowner would pay about $60 a year ($5 a month) to support the Fort Smith Public Library system.
The Fort Smith Public Library and its three neighborhood branches and services are open to every one of those citizens, almost every day. We think library users receive many times more than $5 a month in value.
Because of decades of careful stewardship of the Fort Smith Public Library by citizens and librarians, today it is serving 83,450 registered borrowers.
Each day, they and any new users who obtain a free library card have access not only to books, but computers, digital materials and also to the programs created by the excellent library staff. At the main library’s outstanding Genealogy Department, both librarians and experienced genealogists who do research there are able to assist those who are new to the study of ancestry.
At the younger end of the spectrum, on many mornings toddlers can be seen – and heard – enthusiastically enjoying Story Time and other children’s programs. The study rooms, computer stations and WiFi signal are heavily used by young people who depend on the library’s resources.
For the life of this magazine, hundreds of daily events and stories originating at our libraries have filled our calendar and feature pages. With column inches as her measuring stick, senior editor Donna Payne can attest that the library is the busiest center of activity in Fort Smith.
We’re anticipating even more exciting things at the library such as a new “Maker Space” with 3-D printing capabilities. The plans on the opposite page brim with potential new benefits. And it is all available for the price of – how about free? A free library card is available to every Fort Smith resident or property owner.
“Great Libraries Make A Great Community” is the campaign slogan for this important Aug. 12 election. At this magazine, we believe in our great community and excellent library system. We urge every voter to join us in voting “Yes” to supporting and sustaining the library now and in the future.
– The Editors
Learn more about the plan here at the library's comprehensive election website.