It made me very upset to see how much East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander and City Council members don’t value our library and all it has to offer in their discussion on approving the re-hiring of the vacant library position. This is not a new position but one that has shown its value in the past. And there is some money for the position in the present budget. Why is the library and all it has to offer so low on their priorities?

The library is not “just books,” but multiple programs for children, adults and the elderly. It functions with staff and a cadre of volunteers of all ages. And this position, while unfilled during the height of the pandemic, needs to be filled as soon as possible as the library staff, again with its volunteers, resume activities.

I challenge the City Council members who do not see the value of this position to attend a meeting of either the Library Board and/or the Board of the Friends of the Library to gather their input before making a final decision.

I also ask you, the readers and users of the library, to contact Mayor Gander and individual members of the City Council – especially your district’s representative – to bring this matter back for a vote and to vote ‘Yes’ to filling this position.

Mary Ann Laxen, Board member for Friends of the Library, East Grand Forks

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Also signed by Friends’ Board Members: Mike Powers, John Westrum and Patrice Pribula.