HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - It is National Public Library week, a time to remember the vital role of public libraries. For some East Texans, their local library means accessibility to the world.
"Where else would they go? They wouldn't have access to the Internet. They wouldn't have access to reading material. We wouldn't have access to large print materials, to children's materials. They don't have those things in their homes. We have to continue to provide them as a society," said Debra Bashaw, library director.
That mindset drives Debra Bashaw's passion for keeping the McMullen Memorial Library going. "Our people love to read. We have people who arrange their whole schedules around when we get new books in."
McMullen Memorial is a combined school and public library facility that is leased by Huntington ISD. It serves the cities of Huntington and Zavalla and many of the lake-area residents.
It is often described as a lifeline for people who don't have Internet access at home. "We've learned to help people file for unemployment and healthcare benefits and look for jobs."
And, she says books are here to stay even in this technology driven society, and even among young people. "If we're going to keep them prepared to compete in a modern society, they've got to be able to read all sorts of things, whether its books, newspapers, or a computer screen."
The McMullen Memorial Library opened its doors in 1953. Today it enjoys a circulation of 7,800 with 3,000 cardholders. Bashaw has been library director for the past 11 years and has enjoyed seeing the children of her former students and their children use the library.
Bashaw encourages you to visit your public library at least once a year. "This was my library when I was in first grade, was my library through my entire school career, so to me it's continuing a great tradition."