At a time when Alexandrians are eager to proclaim their city an open and welcoming one, let's keep in mind our wonderful libraries. They offer beautiful and tranquil interior spaces to all comers. Entertainment and instruction are equally available, and the highly trained librarians ease our paths into both.
As much as many of us love nothing more than bringing home a big stack of books, the days are long over when libraries served just voracious bookworms. Their programs help out seniors and babies, science project students, knitters, and gardeners, along with that newest form of everyman, the job seeker. If they have their way, we'll be 100 percent computer literate, cradle to grave. In a city in which we're all geographers — more than a quarter of us are foreign born — they provide not just books and CDs but also classes in English.
If you sit in the library for a while you'll see that they're also good places to meet people. In fact, they have great parties, with lots of free food and entertainment for all ages. I think these may be the only such gatherings in the city.
Did I leave anything out? Only the need to ensure that the City Council realizes that if any Alexandrian institutions deserve full funding, it's the libraries. And attention real estate and business people: they're spectacular assets for you to advertise.