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State of our libraries: Lending opinions

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Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Once again our elected leadership is reactive and not proactive.

The revisited issue is whether revenue from property taxes should support our public libraries. North Apollo is the recent stage.

Twice voters there have supported using 0.75-mill of real estate tax revenue to support the library in Apollo. That borough has the same allocation of tax revenue.

But now North Apollo council members believe it would be better to use that money for something else (not eliminating the tax) and are considering another referendum, apparently thinking voters will be less supportive of the library come November.

There are several libraries in Armstrong County, all supported in various ways, including government funds and community fundraising efforts. The tacit debate is over their importance to the public.

In an age when someone aboard a bus can do studious research using a hand-held device, how vital is a library with books and computers?

Leaders at the state, county and municipal levels need to do a little research themselves, checking the numbers of library users (Apollo Library says its usage was up 16 percent between 2011 and 2012) and looking at how libraries operate not only as book repositories but also as community centers for all ages.

We suggest a countywide exploration of the value of libraries, a real concerted dialogue. As we say, that will require some leadership.

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