Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish immigrant who had been too poor to go to school, went to work at the age of 12. In spite of his background he had built a financial empire in steel.

He believed that America was a meritocracy where anyone, regardless of wealth, could acquire cultural knowledge and succeed. His initial project in 1881 and continuing through 1917 was to establish public libraries so that every immigrant like himself could have access to an education.

In a public library all could at least share cultural opportunities on a basis of equality. All could educate themselves enough to share in America's richness if they so desired. The closing of the Jackson County library system is a closing of the schools for citizens beyond public school age.

A second reason Carnegie gave for creating the public library system was to enable America to be a more homogeneous society where every citizen could be as informed as the next.

Libraries provide the means whereby any talented and motivated person can make themselves able to serve in public office. In a very basic sense libraries are the basis of a democratic society. Poor Jackson County. — Donald A. Wells, Medford

The voices of the voters of Jackson County have been heard loud and clear on the library issue.

If the proponents of higher taxes (Friends of the Library) try to have another election on this, I believe that they should be held accountable for the cost of the election and not put this burden on the taxpayers. No means no in the English language and on the ballot. — Nancy Brousseau, Central Point

Just for your information on deposits, find a can of Sacramento tomato juice. Read the info on the can lid and you will see that there is a 5-cent deposit in Maine and Hawaii.

As usual, Oregon is always dragging behind. As to the levies, the warning signs were first posted with the spotted owl decisions and the environmentalists' lawsuits. — J. Robinson, Grants Pass

Oregon legislators have informed us that capital construction of Oregon universities has become a top priority. It's great to see we students have support in Oregon toward adequate funding for our universities.

However, I'm noticing that many people in Oregon, including our legislators, seem to be focusing solely on funding to renovate and maintain university buildings on campus. It's unfortunate that something as visible as a building crumbling apart is the only thing that will catch the eyes of our lawmakers. All the while, less tangible dilemmas — like rising student debt, decreasing enrollment and program elimination — might not get the attention they need.

Oregon's universities have not been adequately funded for a long time, and we're at a point where we cannot be asked to decide between keeping our buildings and saving our programs. Here at SOU, we've already had to make those decisions. I don't think any university should have to do that. — Drew Brammer, Medford

As a board member of the Jackson County Foster Parents Association, I would like to personally thank Jennifer and the employees of Embarq for their continued support to the kids that we serve in Jackson County.

This business was gracious in donating over $300 to our association, not to mention it is a huge contributor to our Christmas gift program. We hope as an association to continue our partnership with Embarq. Their generosity is greatly appreciated. — JoAnn Phillips, foster parent and JCFPA Board member

I worry about the recommendation to ban all assault weapons or any kind of guns, as it's a slippery slope to choosing the next "unnecessary" gun that the citizen really doesn't need. It wouldn't be long before we would be like England, where they can only own a shotgun.

The next step would be like U.S. military bases. I'm not talking about the barracks, which would be understandable, but my three-bedroom house in base residential housing. I had to check all my firearms into the base armory. If I wanted to play with them I had to sign for them and take them directly off base, play with them, and then return them to the armory before going home.

Oh, and my job in the Air Force? I was a senior NCO in the Security Police career field with a Top Secret security clearance. I could handle the secrets of a "grateful nation" and be trusted with the care of nuclear weapons, but I couldn't be trusted with a firearm in my house.

This is why I am afraid of turning control of my guns over to the lunatic fringe. They have no comprehension of the word "reasonable." — Rick Hake, Rogue River, chairman, Jackson County Constitution Party

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