Guest Column

Are You a Friend of the Hart?


I was watching a movie today that I hated, so turned it off. I was so glad I hadn’t plunked down $12 to see this dud. That’s because I borrowed the DVD from the John C. Hart Memorial Library. The library DVD collection has some good old movies, lots of more recent films and as soon as the latest movies go to DVD, most are added to the collection, where patrons can put their choice on reserve. The DVDs often become available in a few days.

Libraries are so much more than books. They are information founts. In this age of instant digital communication you can Google yourself silly for even the most obscure information, but if you are overwhelmed with TMI, ask your reference librarian for clarification. You’ll get help with a smile and she may even escort you to the location of helpful materials. You won’t get that from your iPad.

We take for granted the services we receive from these book lenders and accept all the perks we get through that no cost library card. Did you know that you can borrow museum passes to museums like the Guggenheim or places of interest like the Intrepid? That can be a big saving for a day’s outing for the family. And have you ever attended a children’s or adult’s program offered to patrons year round? That was entertainment free of charge.

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Let’s say you used your library this week to:

• Borrow two DVDs (estimated cost, $24)

• Borrow one bestseller (estimated cost, $26)

• Borrow one CD (estimated cost, $10)

• Free museum passes (estimated cost, $40)

• Attended one program (estimated cost, $20)

You received $120 worth of materials or services in one week. In this time of budget cuts and increased costs, you paid zero dollars to the library.

According to the 2014 annual reports from the Westchester Library System, the John C. Hart Memorial Library serves a Yorktown population of 36,081. Although it ranks seventh in population after large cities like Yonkers and White Plains, Yorktown ranks fourth in total library transactions and sixth among Westchester libraries for membership of 18,798 card holders. Out of these numbers, less than 300 Hart patrons belong to the Friends of the Library.

Perhaps it is time to spring for the $15 to join the Friends of the Library.

This is the organization of volunteers that generously fund many programs, purchase books and equipment like computers that the library cannot afford with their limited annual budget. The Friends are also responsible for the collection of donated books and the annual book sale of the books at bargain prices. Supporting the library is more than a bargain at $15 a year.

Elaine Amato is a board member of Friends of the John C. Hart Memorial Library.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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