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On Tuesday, June 3, West Hempsteaders will go to the polls to vote on the school and library budgets, School Board and Library Trustees, and, perhaps most significantly, a new West Hempstead Public Library.

A library is more than mere bricks and mortar. It is the portal to every tomorrow we can conjure up in our imaginations. It is a center of learning, of growth, of socialization, and, yes, of community. The library is our link to the past, rich in history, culture and heritage, and that bridge to the future, crossed by those with the vision and courage to build a better day.

On June 3, the opportunity will avail itself to not only enlarge the physical space available to our residents in our library, but also, to broaden the scope and breadth of programs and activities which capture and develop young minds. From enrichment programs for toddlers, to full access to a state-of-the-art community room for seniors, the new library will have something for everyone.

While age is relative, the inadequacies of the physical plant of the Chestnut Street building, having served us well for half a century, now stymie the role our library must play in an age where information and knowledge are the keys to our very survival as a community, as well as our success as a society.

Limitations of space aside, in a structure shared by the library, school administration, and a burgeoning Kindergarten Center - - with parking utilized by staff, by parents, and by those who benefit from the use of the Chestnut ball fields - - we must not lose sight of the value of a library, situated in the heart of our town - - as the foundation upon which we can - - and will - - revitalize our business district, and rekindle that all-important connection to community itself.

Yes, these are difficult economic times, for all of us. There are no easy solutions, and no painless "quick fixes" for the problems that complicate our lives. And yet, hope springs eternal. On June 3, the potential for our town's re-emergence as the jewel in the crown will be on the ballot, a matter of public referendum. I have great hope that West Hempsteaders will seize the day, casting their votes to build not only a new public library, but moreover, a bright and prosperous future for our children, and our town. Let's make June 3 a date to remember!

Seth D. Bykofsky

(The writer is past president of the West Hempstead Civic Association, and current chair of the WHCA's Zoning Committee.)


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