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Libraries keep dreams, options, literacy alive

Do you remember your first visit to your local library? I do. Growing up in post-war England was tough. School-leaving age was 15, many kids had jobs at 13 and 14 and it was not considered cool to be smart. The library provided an outlet and an escape from the mundane expectations of society and supplemented a rather basic education.

At the library I could visit foreign lands and understand their customs and people, read about inventions and new ideas and consider goals outside the narrow range of my parents’ and teachers’ expectations. Sadly, libraries are becoming the focus of cutbacks and now have to justify their very existence.

Fortunately, we have a wonderful library in Boulder City and, with a newly appointed director, it should provide children and adults of the city with direction and serve as a wonderful resource. Library cards are free and the library is constantly buying and upgrading books. Unfortunately, with the advent of electronic readers, the library has sometimes taken a back seat, and I am as guilty as anyone. Now that the library has books available for download to electronic readers, this is something that I will be participating in.

I often worry when I see hunched-over students engrossed in their cellphones and other electronics and wonder what is so fascinating? Pew Research Center surveyed teens and found that 63 percent of them text friends every day. This number had remained stable for the past two years, but the number of texts sent daily rose over the previous years.

This survey was carried out in 2012; no doubt the numbers have risen since then. Educators deplore the use of abbreviations used in texting, citing a decline in literacy, but others see this as an exciting new language developing in the younger population.

Not everyone has the funds available to buy new books, and even with a library nearby, the avid reader sometimes hits a dry spell when he or she doesn’t have a pile of unread books available. Did you know we have several Little Free Libraries in Boulder City, where you can drop off one of your read and well-cared-for books and take another? For free!

The one I know most about, having visited and donated books, is Dandelion’s Little Free Library at 701 Elm St., run by Susan Reams (and you can visit with the library’s sweet little dog mascot, Dandelion). Susan’s library is registered with the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce and she keeps the Little Free Library stocked with not only books but packaged and canned food for her neighbors. She even provided books, candies and treats to local children during the summer holidays.

Writer Margaret Atwood has written, “Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy — which many believe goes hand in hand with it — will be dead as well.” That’s something to think about.

Angela Smith is a Ph.D. life coach, author and educator who has been resident in Nevada since 1992. She can be reached at catalyst78@cox.net.

Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.

City manager bids fond farewell

I may be leaving Boulder City, but it was not an easy decision. From the first time I came in and met the staff and community leaders, I saw a city filled with people who truly care about where they live and work. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with some incredible people.

Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shakespeare was the man when it came to comedy and tragedy. His ability to make people feel the intense emotions of the characters is still imitated today. The past few months have been filled with a bit of excited anticipation at City Hall as several longtime and high-level employees have found new roles in other acts. I’m here to borrow some Shakespearean lines, the first being from Ophelia, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” (Hamlet)

Me, my brother and Silo Sam

Recently, I’ve been enjoying watching shows on A&E related to professional wrestling back in the earlier days, with profiles on wrestlers I grew up watching as well as classic rivalries.

Let’s talk about the ‘D Word’

OK, as a starting point, I must note that it’s weird to think that I might be writing something that would put me in agreement with the Language Police.

Make a new plan, Stan

A plan is a method for achieving a desirable objective. It’s a program of action, usually memorialized in writing. Plans start with goals and ideas. But ideas alone (even good ones) don’t constitute a plan.

Time to recognize unsung heroes

We have so many functions within the Boulder City Police Department, from school resource officers to road patrol to the detective bureau. The work that they do keeps Boulder City among the “Safest Cities in Nevada” (newhomesource.com, alarm.com) year after year. One unit is the backbone of our public safety response: Public Safety Dispatchers.