Those of us with an affinity for books recognize and appreciate our libraries, those storehouses of knowledge that enhance our towns and communities.

There are an estimated 122,105 libraries of all kinds in the United States today, which, as Malcolm Forbes once said, can measure a country's greatness even more than monetary wealth.

"The richest person in the world - in fact all the riches in the world - couldn't provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library," the American publisher said.

In this age of electronic media, we're always heartened to hear of a new library rising up. That's now happening in the Penn Forest and Kidder townships area as a new library center is planning to serve the over 11,000 full-time residents. Located at the Pine Point Plaza on Route 903 in Albrightsville, it will not only house books, but provide a number of public access computers and a children's room.

Spearheading the project, which is being privately funded by local residents, is Barbara Franzosa, president of the Friends of the Penn Kidder Library Center. A flea market, held on the first Saturday of the month at Pine Point Plaza, has been a great source of revenue for the project. The last flea market of the season, scheduled for next month, includes a used book sale.

The Friends of the Penn Kidder Library Center also plan a fall festival for Columbus Day weekend which they hope to turn into an annual event to support the library.

If you love words and the printed page, you won't need convincing about the importance of our libraries but this being an election year, if you're an "undecided," here are a more quotations to ponder:

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"We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth" – John Lubbock, English banker, politician and scientist;

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"Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul" – an inscription over the door at Library at Thebes;

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"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need" – Cicero;

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"My books are very few, but then the world is before me - a library open to all - from which poverty of purse cannot exclude me - in which the meanest and most paltry volume is sure to furnish something to amuse, if not to instruct and improve" – Joseph Howe, Nova Scotian journalist, politician, and public servant;

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"A public library is the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them" – Mark Twain;

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"The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries" – Carl Sagan, astronomer, educator and author.

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The last quote from the late Carl Sagan, and especially the last phrase about supporting our libraries, speaks volumes about their valued place in civilization.

(Anyone wishing to donate directly to the library project can do so by making out a check payable to Friends of PKLC, Inc., P.O. Box 783, Albrightsville, PA 18210.)

By Jim Zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com [1]