Again this tax season, Mainers have the opportunity to support the state’s free public libraries, including Lewiston’s and Auburn’s, through a state income tax check-off program.

Making a contribution of $5 or more through this convenient program will help ensure public libraries are able to continue their important work.

Maine’s public libraries have long played a crucial role in our communities, providing our neighbors with access to an incredible range of information and educational opportunities.

Today, these institutions are playing increasingly critical roles in economic and workforce development, making support of public libraries more important than ever.

Forty percent or more of public library visits nationwide are for employment-related needs, according to the American Library Association. That highlights one of the modern public library’s most important functions as local engines of economic opportunity.

At the same time, libraries are delivering an ever-wider range of important services to their communities.

In recent years, these institutions have expanded their programs and services to reflect the increasing importance of technology to both society and the economy. In addition to making books, eBooks, and other media accessible, an overwhelming majority of Maine’s 264 public libraries offer access to broadband or cable Internet — an invaluable tool for those to whom it would not otherwise be available.

Libraries of virtually all sizes are now offering courses that help community members improve their computer skills and digital literacy. Public libraries also offer other job training opportunities while helping to connect job seekers with employment opportunities.

Through the Maine State Library’s Broadband Technology Opportunity Program alone, well over 10,000 Mainers have benefited from training at public libraries, while many more people have participated in similar training programs across the state.

The positive impact of public libraries ripples through communities through the resources they provide, which is why we are asking Mainers to contribute $5 or more to the Maine Public Libraries Fund through the tax check-off program. Taken together, our contributions will help to sustain an important public resource.

All proceeds from the state income tax check-off program will help Maine’s public libraries, including efforts to expand interlibrary loan support, ensure broadband Internet access, create career development programs, purchase new eBook content, and much more.

Public support is necessary to sustain public libraries as vibrant and valuable community assets. We encourage people to consider contributing to Maine’s public libraries by participating in the Maine Public Library Tax Check Off Program this year.

A contribution can be made using Form CP of the Maine state income tax return.

For more information, go to: www.maine.gov/revenue or consult a tax adviser for more information.

Rick Speer is director of the Lewiston Public Library. Mamie Anthoine Ney is director of the Auburn Public Library.

The Lewiston Public Library and SPi Global will co-host “Book Building at the Lewiston Public Library,” at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 8, at the library.

Children are invited to the library to create their own books to take home, including illustrating and laying out the pages, designing the cover and making the book’s binding.

There is no cost to participate.


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