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February 21, 2012     Cape Gazette
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Cape Gazette VIEWPOINTS TUESDAY. FEBRUARY 21 - THURSDAY FEBRUARY 23 2012 7 up in Safe Haven's hands, but we ' L@tt{~S ~ are sure glad he did. The constant love that he provides is amazing. I Continu~ from page 6 couldn't imagine not having him to the community with this family in our lives. health fair. is just another The entire process with Safe reason why I m so glad i live in Haven was easy and comfortable, SuSsex County. youl Beebe They worked with our schedules Medical Center and staff for all you do. Barbara McGowa. Lewes Safe: Haven brougM us Sven with lots of love In response to the article in last week's paper regarding Safe Haven, I'd like to tell you about my personal experience: For months, I followed Sven through the Safe Haven Facebook page. They updated photos and blurbs of him, as well as the other dogs, often. We had two large dogs at the time, and unfortunate- ly couldn't take another in. Sadly, in September 2011, we lost our 8- and-a-half-year-old shepherd mix. and came to us. Everyone was ex- tremely friendly and so grateful. You cantell they absolutely love the animatsand want the best for them. Meghan and Tyler Mulhn Lewes An open letter to Alisha Broughton - not personal As I read and re-read your im- passioned response to my critique of your original article regarding Martin Luther King It., it is appar- ent to me that you have taken that critique as an attack on you per- sonally. Please be assured that this was not at all my intent. Perhaps you missed those words of praise This was a painful loss and we about portions of your article. I were reluctant to move forward always wanted to be a teacher, but with our search for another dog. I was never afforded the opportu- A couple weeks later, I received nity to attend college and attain a message from Karli Swope ask- the requisite credentials for teach- ing us if we'd be able to foster ing. So, in my advanced years, I Sven or another:dog, as several of exercise that long-denied dream the dogs Werefft doing well in the and critique writings, much like I kennels. This was exactly the push imagine a teacher might. You did, we needed, and the next day we met with Sven, Karli, and our dog, Isaac. There was an instant con- nection and about an hour later, we drove home with our new fos- ter dog who eventually became a part of the family. I can't quite un- derstand how or why Sven ended after all, introduce the idea of your remarks being scrutinized. Conversely, your strongly word- ed and accusatory response, punc- tuated liberally with exclamation points, could, indeed, be perceived as a retaliatory attempt to wound me personally. You warn me DELAWARE CAPE REGION HISTORY iN PHOTOGRAPHS }> Artist Jack Lewis at work in 1940 " DELAWARE PUBLIC ARCHIVES-PHOTO THE [gELAWA~RE PLIBIC ARCHIVES WEB$~TE has-hundreds o(photographs from all over Delaware from the World War II years between 1939 and1945. Artist Jack Lewis came to Delaware with the Civilian Conservation'Corps inthe De- pression years of the 1930s and eventually settled in Sussex County. This photograph of the artist at work was made on April 6,1940. Now, almost 72 years later and in h s late 90s, the artist lives inYork, Maine. about the legal ramifications re- garding "screaming" people's names, and you tell me I should be ashamed fSr my perception of your writing, again punctuated with an exclamation point. You also ask me if I have ever known poverty or homelessness. Yes, I have, indeed, known poverty;, ex- cruciating poverty, most of my younger years, and though I have never been homeless, [ have come frighteningly close to it. We or- phans often felt homeless while awaiting the next state-appointed housing assignment. You and I could probably learn much from each other. However, this type of back-and-forth is best played out on a personal level and Continued on page 8 've followed the delibera- tions about the future of the Lewes library pretty closely. And after reading all the back and forth about who's going to win the battle be- tweenkeeping it downtown or moving it out to Five Points, I'm stuck on a pretty simple ques- tion: Why does there have to be a singular winner or loser at all? I say this as someone who lives in downtown Lewes be- cause I treasure the sense of community here, and as a baby boomer who loved to browse the shelves of libraries that were always accessible to the military bases and suburban communi- ties where I grew up. I'm also a writer whose first novel, pub- lished in hardcover, sold just f'me at your typical Barnes & Noble but reached its largest au- dience because of the many li- brarians who chose to stock it on their own shelves. For per- sonal and professional reasons I think libraries should be places Of equal opportunity - I want to be able to stroll over to the branchin my neighborhood and want people in the larger Lewes community to have easy access to its books, magazines and digi- tal offerings as well. The current Lewes library - an airy, beautiful building on a perfectly landscaped lot - is one Y of the city's best-loved places. Unfortunately, foils on the li- brary board are worried that it's ' too small and not adaptable to the space that Lewes' larger pop- ulation will need in the future. One possibility presented in last week's Cape Gazette is to en- large the current building, with or without expansion onto a new lot, which would have to be pur- chased. The other is to pluck it out of the heart of town and start over with a new building three miles away. People who live out at Five Points (and probably a lot of oth- er people who live in Lewes' western areas) understandably want the same things that those of us downtown have now- ali- brary we can walk or easily drive to, with a rich array of material. It's good for our families, our community, and our property values. But the absolute worst "solution" for all of us would be to destroy what we have and try to recreate it somewhere else. It would be a terrible waste of an investment in a building (owned by the city, which makes me as- sume it's'been financed by cur- rent and longtime downtown taxpayers) that's only a few years old, and a dispiriting event for the thousands of people who val- ue it just as it is. And although I understand the land for the new location would be donated, does anyone think it's wise to turn our backs on what we've already invested in to spend millions to build some-" thing new from the ground up? So why can't we consider an- other option? Keep the library that we have downtown as it is. Take the support for the Five Points location - and a mere por- tion of the money proposed to create it - and build an annex. This approach would mirror that taken in plenty of other commu- nities that make responsible use of current libraries while also making their offerings accessible to a growing and increasingly far-flung population. I expect the current location - small and "quaint" as it is - could success- fully continue serving those of us who live downtown, and the sec- ond building, Constructed with more parking spaces and an ex- pert appraisal of the technologi- cal needs of the future, would provide what's needed for thou- sands of other residents who also want a library close to home. If that sounds like a magical thinking from someone who is- n't considering the cost of run- ning two libraries or aware of monetary constraints in general, consider the fact that books, magazines and newspapers in electronic formats are already selling and/or being read at a faster rate than print versions, and across the country, libraries are stocking fewer print materi- als in general than ever before. While there will always be plen- ty of readers who insist on being able to hold a book in their hands, libraries 10 years from now will have even fewer shelves and a greater focus on the exponentially expanding ar- ray of books, films, news and consumer-generated video avail- able online. With that in mind, I believe that fewer bookshelves means that the physical buildings will be smaller, not larger. I'd also be willing to bet that the overall cost to have two smaller li- braries would be less than what it'll take to build a new mega- center from scratch (particularly given the money that would be saved by not having to purchase the property adjacent to the cur- rent library site). Like library systems in thousands of commu- nities nationwide, each location of the greater Lewes library could have plenty of print mate- rials in stock yet easily shuttle them from one branch to the other based on customer re- quests. Meanwhile, the physical spaces of both the current build- ing and the new one could be configured and built to offer state-of-the-art digital offerings as well. Don't get me wrong - I'm a downtown boy who will do whatever it takes to protect my downtown library. I just don't see why my friends all over greater Lewes have to "lose" so I can "win." Let's take advantage of a gen- erous offer to donate land and the opportunity to build an addi- tional, properly-scaled building to meet their needs without do- ing away with what we have. This would ensure that every- one in Lewes has a library that's easy to get to, a gathering place where we can linger and learn, and a focal point for the larger community that we share. Chris Beakey is a thriller writer and the author of Double Abduction, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. He can be reached at chdsbeakey@verizon.net.