Thanks for your support of the EBR library tax in the recent “Don’t gut library gains” editorial in “Our Views.” Like many citizens, I’ve been skeptical of the library’s large budget. But a few weeks ago, I totally changed my mind. I invite your readers to make a similar trip to the new Main Library to research their own interests and hobbies.

Three relatives came to town to explore our ancestors’ roots, primarily at the EBR Main Library’s genealogy collection, now also housing the LSU collection. We were not disappointed.

First, they all remarked on the Main Library’s size, beauty, architecture and friendly staff. Next, the three specialists who assisted us in the genealogy collection made us feel like honored guests and were superb!

There are seven people on the genealogy staff alone. The ones who helped us were highly skilled, educated and well trained to help us find information on our long-lost relatives. One specialist in particular was very knowledgeable in Louisiana history and U.S. migration patterns. My cousins from Mississippi were thrilled, saying they had never been to a library anywhere with such incredible assets and services.

If other citizens take a few minutes to go to our library with a “quest,” they will probably come away, much as I did, a true believer. A visit to the EBRPL website shows that the EBR public library system provides the broadest social, cultural and educational resources our city has to offer. Not only are there programs and learning opportunities for people of all ages and interests, you can even check out a laptop, sign up for tutoring or take one of dozens of topical classes.

I was amazed at the scope and wealth of programs and activities provided throughout the library’s locations and assets. In genealogy alone, I would probably have to pay $100 a month or more to subscribe to the online services that my library card gives me for free. I’ve signed up to start learning more via their on-site genealogy classes, another free resource.

For years, a lot of residents have bemoaned the sad state of public education in our city, myself included. A former teacher, I know that love of reading and learning can help transform the most educationally impoverished student. But EBRPL isn’t just a safety net for those students seeking a better education.

It’s clear to me that EBRPL is our best cultural and educational asset, clearly marking Baton Rouge’s leadership status in the state and the region. It’s an institution that should make us feel proud of our city. Why should we penalize them now just for becoming a total success built slowly and intelligently over many years?

Barbara Weber

retired marketing specialist

Baton Rouge