Printed letters, Sept. 23, 2010

Libraries still needed in high-tech world

In the wake of technology libraries succeed. It only takes a card. Mesa County Libraries provide programming within the eight-branch library system designed to meet needs for all ages with topics ranging from personal interests to current business issues, to learning English or a new computer skill.

Libraries remain valuable community institutions. Mesa County libraries show record levels of use. For the first time, more than 1 million items were checked out in 2009, and we’re on pace to far exceed that level in 2010. This past June was a record setting single month with 124,645 items checked out and over 65,000 visits librarywide.

Mesa County Libraries continue to offer books and reference services, as always, but library membership also opens up exponential access to information through its online databases and resources, which are available 24/7 from your home computer. Librarians can answer questions through instant messaging, e-mail, or on the phone, but the most popular way remains in person.

Contrary to popular belief, physical books are still well-used, even as downloadable items become one of the library’s most popular services. There are also shelves full of DVDs of popular movies, documentaries and television series. And if you know exactly which book or DVD you would like, you can go online and reserve the item for delivery to whichever library branch is most convenient for you.

Mesa County Libraries’ use continues to grow with registered users, library and website visits, borrowed items and programs. If you think libraries are gathering dust on books and old computers, take a closer look.

Readers can visit any of the eight Mesa County Library branches and the website to see what is offered.

MARK MARTIN-WILLIAMS President Mesa County Public Library District

Grand Junction

Good leaders require a unifying belief

Credit where credit is due, as the saying goes. In his most recent column, Denny Herzog deserves some credit for recognizing the sad and obvious.

Theodore Roosevelt, as great a leader as there ever was, said that in a democracy he felt he could judge the people based upon the character of their leaders, and further said that the qualities he looked for in leaders were the same as what he sought in individuals. He said there were only three, none of which were intelligence, as it happens, which he said was both too rare and, unconstrained by those qualities he considered important, positively dangerous.

The qualities were: honesty, courage and common sense (which, of course, entails intelligence although not necessarily of the academic type). He said that without honesty, nothing else matters; that one must pursue what’s right courageously; and that common sense should be applied to see things through to their rightful conclusion. How would today’s leaders score on this basis?

That there is a dearth of true leadership today is a symptom of a much deeper, more profound problem. Historically, only those societies that believed in great things, be they a deity or a national myth, and that pursued lofty causes, produced great leaders and, consequently, great civilizations.

What great unifying belief or myth do we or any other Western society believe in these days? God? Country? Manifest destiny? Or is it the nihilistic, multicultural mumbo- jumbo that fills the airwaves? I would submit that this has much more to do with it and where Herzog and other leaders of the free press should devote themselves if they are so concerned, as unfashionable as it may presently be.


Grand Junction

Medical marijuana acts quicker than most drugs

Drugs and medical marijuana are both prescribed by doctors. The difference is drugs are prepared by humans and prone to human error. You really can’t tell if they help or not, and there are cases where some do more harm than good.

Medical marijuana, on the other hand is natural, not subject to human mistakes, and the effects are immediately felt.

Medical marijuana stops nausea and vomiting, stimulates hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowers intraocular eye pressure (for treating glaucoma), relieves pain and suffering, and there’s some evidence that it helps autistic children.



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