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Book Notes

December 26, 2013

Libraries benefit everyone and are worth funding

Libraries are wonderful institutions that offer something for everyone. Whether it’s finding good books or movies, accessing the Internet, attending one of our many adult or children’s programs, doing research, or just hanging out to read or socialize, the Village Library of Cooperstown has it all. We’re open seven days a week and offer both a community center to the public and an outlet to the information world.

Our ability to continue in such a format is currently in peril because the Village of Cooperstown, which up to now has been our major source of funding, would like the budget to be more equitable and spread among the areas that we currently serve. The Village contributes 76% of the budget while maintaining only 34% of the card holders.

Besides the obvious inequities in our funding the budget has never been secure. One way to provide a steady funding stream is to go to the voters. That is why we are providing a proposition that will appear on the school district ballot on May 20, 2014 that will propose funding for our library and the Hartwick library as well (since it is also in the Cooperstown School District). It should be emphasized that our budget proposition is completely separate from the school budget. We are just using the school district as a conduit for our proposal.

I could talk about all the great things that the library provides but once you mention the word “tax” people tend to recoil. People hate that word more than any other in the English language. The patrons that regularly use the library appreciate all its benefits but what about those people who never use the library? Many of them will see no reason to vote for a proposal that provides no obvious benefit to them.

The truth is that a vibrant public library does provide a direct benefit to them, whether they use the library or not. Studies have shown that a public library improves the overall quality of a community and increases property values. Cities and towns with a strong real estate market are ones that historically have had strong school systems and strong infrastructures. Public libraries are part of that infrastructure.

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Book Notes
  • WWII collection grows with 'Those Angry Days' The main lesson history teaches us is to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. There’s also an old saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Perhaps the two notions have something in common because we continually prove that history does indeed repeat itself.

    April 10, 2014

  • 'Blue Jasmine' shows talent of troubled Allen It's a shame that Woody Allen is caught up in controversy in his personal life because it deflects from his talent as a filmmaker. You can see the brilliance in his most recent release, "Blue Jasmine" now available for rental at the Cooperstown Library.

    April 3, 2014

  • 'Nebraska' helps give Dern his due Bruce Dern has been a character actor for over half a century yet hadn't really gotten the acclaim he deserves.

    March 27, 2014

  • Book captures both sides of 'Splended Splinter' Ted Williams is an American icon. As the mainstay of the Boston Red Sox from 1939-1960 he was one of baseball’s all-time greats, a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, and perhaps the greatest hitter the sport has ever known. He was admired for his devotion to the game, his service to his country, and his support for children with cancer. But there was an ugly side to him too. Williams’ life was a set of contradictions where his talent and humanity were offset by fits of rage and cold-heartedness.

    March 20, 2014

  • Wouk has amazing body of epic work One of the problems with eulogies is that they only seem to occur posthumously. I often wonder why people who have produced something noteworthy aren't honored until after they die and don't get to hear the acclaim they deserve. In that vein I want to recognize an aging classic novelist while he is still with us.

    March 13, 2014

  • 'Miracle' shows when Olympics were pure The Winter Olympics ended recently and somehow they seemed to have lost their luster. It wasn’t so much that they were in Sochi where most of the events were on tape delay. It was more due to the new events (many we have never heard of) that have diluted the games. The Winter Olympics have gone from an intimate edition of their summer counterpart to one where it appears medal counts and commercialism is all that matters.

    March 6, 2014

  • Sometimes bad films, books called 'Classic' About 40 years ago a movie was made that set the standard for overhyped and underwhelming films. It was "The Great Gatsby" starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Redford was the hottest thing in Hollywood at the time and Time Magazine ran a cover story on the film. When it was finally released it completely bombed.

    February 27, 2014

  • British films that will warm your heart With all the snow and sub-zero temperatures this winter there are enough nights where the easiest thing to do is hunker down and enjoy a good movie. I thought I’d offer a few suggestions with a British twist. These are films with Americans that are filmed in England. The one thing they all have in common is that they’ll warm your heart in the end.

    February 20, 2014

  • Giants-Dodgers rivalry entertains One of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports is the Giants and Dodgers. These two proud franchises have been going at it for well over 100 years. First it was New York vs. Brooklyn. Now it's San Francisco vs. Los Angeles. There's no love lost between them. Victories over each other are sweeter than those over any other team. Even when they're not going head-to-head it feels good when their arch-rival loses. If you're a Giants' fan, hating the Dodgers is a way of life (and vice versa).

    February 13, 2014

  • Going the Distance to White House Every president of the United States goes through difficult periods. It comes with the job. There are the daily demands of national security issues, the economy, policy initiatives, personnel, Congressional meetings, and social events. Heaven forbid a scandal breaks out. It takes a massive ego to be president since the pressures outweigh the perks. It's little wonder that presidents age in office. The stress is unrelenting.

    February 6, 2014