Library a great asset to area

Published 5:53 am Monday, January 26, 2004

By Staff
In the Brewton area we're blessed with many services, attitudes and amenities uncommon for a community our size.
We've got a thriving and diverse small business community, a great asset in the YMCA, a number of nice restaurants, a forward-thinking approach to community and economic development, and probably as high a per capita concentration of civic-minded individuals as any place in the country.
All these things -- and many more -- combine to offer us the best of both worlds: the comforts and relative safety of small city living, in an environment that's both active and inclusive.
Feelings of collective isolation and low-ceilinged expectations that are present in many towns and cities our size are not problems here, and that's due largely to the public and private institutions around which the community has been built.
One of them that's been in the news quite a bit recently is the Brewton Public Library. It's as fine a small city library as you're likely to find in Alabama or any other state, and it's getting better all the time.
One exciting thing that's on the horizon at the library is the upgrading and replacement of computer equipment. This is being made possible by a grant from the Bill and Melinda gates Foundation, the philanthropic creation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
The Brewton library is one of 54 libraries around the state that will benefit from the grant monies.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the grant is the system that it will go toward improving.
The Brewton Public Library already has 24 computers at its disposal, an impressive number of workstations offering the public access to the internet and all it offers.
To go with its computer system, the library also offers a number of software packages for both children and adults. Parents and preschoolers, for instance, can benefit from educational programs aimed at delivering a basic knowledge of what is expected of children once they enter the school system.
For adults, there are programs designed to help with resume writing and job searches.
On top of it all, the library has recently begun offering a series of introductory computer classes, designed for the people who need them most -- those with no experience and knowledge of these useful tools.
All that being said, the library is still about books and reading as much as it's ever been, with a great collection and reading programs for adults and kids of all ages.
Libraries are special places. They offer young and old access to a world of information and activities, at no charge. It's sometimes easy to take for granted these great institutions, but we shouldn't. Even if you don't have a particular activity in mind, or any certain book you're looking to read, it's worth stopping by and checking out the public library. You just might find something there that grabs your interest.

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