Neighborhood Libraries

a speech by Paulette Dickerson

Chair, Montgomery County Library Board

I was gratified to hear of the County Council's resolution to put "Children First" and would like to thank you all on behalf of everyone I know.

Tonight I've come to ask for CIP money for the Montgomery County Department of Public Libraries. My colleague, Jacques Gelin, is asking you to appropriate funds for the development of a new Rockville Library building. Well, I'd like to ask for a lot more. I'd like to see a dozen new libraries.

When we were kids, most of us who are lifetime library users walked to the local library, or we rode our bikes, or we took the bus. One thing we did not have to do was to ask our parents for a ride there, if they felt like it or when and if they had the time. Yet in a county as affluent as ours, the neighborhood library is almost extinct.

So --- that's what I'm asking for --- neighborhood libraries for our children and grandchildren. To start with --- Rockville, Germantown, Poolesville, an Urban Library in Silver Spring and expanded hours for all. Over the next ten or fifteen years --- I'd like to see new Libraries built to benefit all who live in Upcounty areas like Clarksburg, Lyttonsville, Layhill and other sections of the county that have burgeoning populations.

Also, while I'm asking, let's have temporary branches (maybe in those trailer-like buildings that provide temporary classrooms at schools) for the patrons whose local libraries are being renovated, so that kids don't get out of the habit of popping into the library after school. Twinbrook could use one starting this summer, then Long Branch could use one next year --- perhaps even the same one.

And we could try for stronger ties between the Public Schools and the Library System, with maybe Library kiosks in the schools, so that together they could train the kids of this county to use and value the free flow of information in books, in classrooms, on the Internet, and out in the world.

Winston Churchill once said, "We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us." Let's build some new libraries and watch how our County grows around them.

This speech was written by Paulette Dickerson and given by her at the Montgomery County Council's Capital Improvement Program budget hearings, in Rockville, Maryland on 20 March 1999.

Paulette Dickerson P.O. Box 598 Kensington, MD. 20895-0598
Private Citizen / Library Advocate

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E-Mail: "pdickerson (at)"
Paper Mail: Paulette Dickerson, P.O.Box 598, Kensington, MD 20895-0598, USA

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