Don’t you hate being forced to choose one word or phrase from a list to describe yourself? Faced recently with the need to pigeonhole the Ridgefield Library on a form, my first instinct was to look for the box that said “None of the Above.” Here were my choices:
· “Educational Institution” isn’t quite right. Although we are dedicated to the promotion of literacy and the support of lifelong learning, in and out of schools, public libraries have other roles as well.
· “Culture & the Arts” doesn’t quite do it either, despite the hundreds of performances, exhibits, workshops and other cultural and artistic offerings we present each year.
· “Human/Social Services” falls short, although we do provide much crucial information on a wide range of issues.
· “Government Agency” is also off the mark. The town does grant us 75% of our operating budget each year, but the Ridgefield Library is an independent 501 (c )(3) organization that manages its own finances, owns its own property and raises nearly $500,000 each year from non-governmental sources.
While all of these choices are inadequate separately in describing the multifaceted Ridgefield Library, they do all have a kernel of truth. Perhaps we need an “All of the Above” box to check instead!