, Salem, MA

February 7, 2013

Letter: Library "an essential piece" of Peabody

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Thank you to the Salem News for coming to the defense of public libraries in Peabody and beyond (“Libraries vital to civic life,” Feb. 1). You are correct in pointing out the importance of libraries in the Internet age, and their integral role in the vibrancy of any community.

We are fortunate that such resources exist to any and all residents who wish to avail themselves, no matter their economic demographic.

Just look at some of the many programs offered by the Peabody Institute Library. Aside from the availability of borrowing books, the library offers other materials including music, audiobooks and Internet access to thousands of online databases. It operates programs in conjunction with AARP to provide tax services to seniors, operates a summer lunch program with the Haven from Hunger, and works in conjunction with the Peabody Public Schools to provide access to summer reading materials. Art and literature programs along with a guest lecture series are ongoing. Children’s story times and resources to support local businesses are offered continuously.

All of these programs are provided through the efforts and generosity of The Friends of the Library, The Peabody Institute Library Foundation, as well as from donations from local businesses and from grant awards. City funds are not used for programming. In partnership with the City of Peabody and these local donors, our library is and will continue to be an essential piece of Peabody’s educational and economic success.

Therefore it is imperative that we maintain our investments in both the physical plant, as well as in the general operation of our library. If we are truly committed to the revitalization of our downtown, we must also be committed to vitality of our library. On the National Register of Historic Buildings, and one of the largest generators of foot traffic to our downtown, we have a responsibility to ensuring that the Peabody Institute Library continues to serve Peabody residents of all ages and economic backgrounds.

Thomas P. Walsh

President, Peabody Institute Library Foundation