To the Editor:

I want to encourage you to visit your local public library, your community’s gem that helps in so many ways.

Before serving in elected office, I was known at my local library in Bowling Green as one of the “library moms,” routinely taking my children to story time and other library events. The public library helped us raise and educate our children. It helped us connect to our neighbors and community.

Your public library can do the same for you and your family. The library helps families instill the love of reading and learning in our children, opening up the world to them through stories and songs. This helps our children gain needed early literacy skills that will help them throughout their lives.

Programs like the Dolly Parton Imagination Library or the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten initiative help parents encourage and excite the littlest minds to learn and discover. Homework help, tutoring sessions, and partnerships with schools to deliver e-cards so students can access digital information to help school-aged children. Your local library helps people at every age, from those seeking a new job or mastering a new technology skill. From cradle to grave, your library serves you and your community.

Though the pandemic has caused all of us – including our libraries – to have to do things a little differently for a while, the public library remains a crucial connection point for all of us. Expanded access to digital information, expanded Wi-Fi access, curbside and delivery services, online story hours and author visits all help keep us connected to the information we need and the stories we love. Ohio’s public libraries are the best in the nation.

The library is and effective and efficient investment by a community and the State of Ohio, giving us a robust return on investment. Locally in Bowling Green, in 2019 for every $1 invested in library operations the community received services valued at $4.69. So visit your library and learn about all the ways they can help you and your family. The world awaits.

Theresa Gavarone

state senator from Bowling Green