I grew up on the East Side of Columbus and my parents were immigrants who had met and married here in the late 1940s.

To the Editor:

I grew up on the East Side of Columbus and my parents were immigrants who had met and married here in the late 1940s. During high school, I spent a large amount of time -- just about every weeknight -- at the Bexley Public Library. It was there that I could learn beyond the classroom and where I developed my lifelong love of books.

I've spent the better part of the past two decades advocating for access to learning, having served on boards along the full spectrum of education -- from early learning to primary and secondary to higher education. Along this journey, I've witnessed how our public libraries partner with local schools and students, and Bexley Public Library is no exception.

Our public libraries are true egalitarian institutions in this country; their doors are open to everyone to access learning and knowledge. In fact, Bexley Public Library's mission is grounded in the values our Bexley community has always championed -- lifelong pursuit of knowledge, free exchange of ideas, discovery, education and active citizenship.

Voting "yes" on Issue 49 to approve a 2.8 mill-operating levy for Bexley Public Library will provide vital funding for the library. You need to know that library use is up (circulation grew by 16 percent and attendance jumped 43 percent between 2010 and 2012), but state funding is down (in 2012, Bexley Public Library received about the same amount that it received in 1990).

Issue 49 replaces the existing levy to provide a stable resource base on which the library can build a shared vision for the future -- a vision that includes more digital content such as eBooks and online magazines, expanded outreach to seniors and youth, cooperative lending with other libraries, an improved catalog system and website, and facilities improvements, as it continues providing excellent programs and services for learners of all ages, robust print collections including Large Print, access to technology and technology training, and space for art, music and community gathering.

My parents came to this country with not much more than their minds, and a determination to begin again. From a very early age, they stressed to my sister and me the importance of education and learning.

I can't think of a better way to preserve these values than by voting "yes" for Issue 49. It is a vote to sustain a vibrant Bexley community treasure.

Linda Stern Kass