An Open Letter to the Washington County Tennessee Commissioners:

I would like to declare my support for the 2018-2019 budget request of the Washington County-Jonesborough Library (Washington County Public Library, Jonesborough & Gray, TN) as presented by the Library Board of Trustees. 

The library is a vital resource that functions as a community center, educational support system, and an ad hoc social service that helps local people become more familiar with the complexities of the online world. 

Failure to properly fund our library will result in a reduction in services, including popular ones such as children’s STEM programs, genealogy assistance, and one-on-one computer instruction.

How important are our library services?   

Ask the mother of a struggling reader whose grades improved after working with one of our Tail Waggin’ tutors. 

Ask the sixty-year-old gentleman who is using a computer for the first time to file for unemployment. 

Ask the young woman who learns that she can now register to vote from her own phone using the library’s Wi-Fi connection. 

Ask the homeschool parents that use our vast consortium collection to help educate the next generation of Washington County leaders. 

Ask the hundreds of tourists that use our Genealogy and Archives collection every year to find answers to their family histories. 

The Washington County-Jonesborough Library (and Gray Library) adds more value to the community than it uses in funds; it adds $4.96 in value for every dollar it uses. 

Our library does more than check out books—it provides a place for civil discourse, it serves as a great equalizer in the information age, it transforms the lives of many of its users, and it deserves to be adequately funded.

Washington County is the lowest funded library of any other county in our region.  I would hope that the new County Commission coming in would have the foresight to look to the future of our libraries as something more than just a building that requires maintenance.  We need all the dollars we can get.

– Dona Lewis (President of the Friends of the Library)