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I read in sadness and shock that city councilors Rich Kellum and Bessie Johnson are considering closing the Carnegie Library to save money or repurpose the building as a coffeehouse or some other rental property. For more than 20 years, my family has grown up in that building, attending children’s and youth activities, family and community offerings, feeding our curiosity and unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Now I see other young families, older adults, college students, and other diverse populations regularly using the facilities thanks to its central location. We ride our bikes to lessen our carbon footprint and safely arrive - we’re not going to risk our lives riding in the heavily congested shopping district by the Main Library.

Libraries reflect a city’s values. Albany is a gem here in the heart of the Willamette Valley. The Carnegie Library is the vibrant, dynamic, and necessary heart of downtown offering much more than books; a community hub open to all citizens, something it would not be if it were leased out as a private coffeehouse or other business.

As Albany grows, do we want to lessen our offerings and encourage more congestion, or continue to nurture this wonderful community we call home? Please do not close our Carnegie library!

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Andy Nelson

Albany (Aug. 17)

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