This week the Scranton Library brought back the tradition of marching in the annual 4th of July parade. Not only do I think this is an important way for us to show our support of the community that gives so much support to us, but it is also a way to pay homage to those whose actions have allowed us to exist in the first place.
From our forefathers who made that original declaration of independence to all the young men and women who continue to fight today, their bravery is why you can come to the Scranton Library and freely find the information you seek. And while yes, there is no cost to check out a book or conduct an internet search, the "free" I mean is one that is not shared by some of the other countries of the world (China and North Korea come to mind.)
The reason I love the free public library is because it truly is the "great equalizer." My librarians are able to, and in fact should do so with strong purpose and committment, purchase materials that cover a wide range of viewpoints. We do this despite our own personal beliefs, ideologies, and literary tastes because we believe in the right of all citizens to have free access to information. If we are guilty of censorship it is only in the spirit of spending our resident's money wisely on materials that will have general appeal and have been reviewed positively for accuracy and quality. Believe me when I tell you this does not eliminate much and sometimes it does come down to a strictly budgetary decision but we do our best.
So the next time you visit the Scranton Library or any other free public library for that matter, pause a minute and marvel at the wealth of information before you. Then go out and thank a veteran. Happy Fourth of July to you all!