Letter to the Editor – Library director offers tips on staying informed

Opinion

To the Editor:

There has been discussion, recently, about people feeling uninformed about things that are happening in local government.  I have also seen the statement that people must choose to be informed.  While it is true that residents do need to take the initiative to inform themselves many people may not be sure where to go to find information. 

Locally, the Daily Democrat is the paper of record for the city and required city announcements are included as public notices in the classified section.  What if you don’t subscribe to this newspaper?  The Fort Madison Public Library has a subscription and anyone can visit the library to read our copy.  You don’t need a library card, just walk in the door, pick up the newspaper and sit down in a chair to read it.  Additionally, Fort Madison is fortunate to have two local news sources, as many small communities struggle to have even one.  The Pen City Current is free for anyone to read but is only available online.  If you don’t have home internet or a device on which you can easily read this e-newspaper, the library has computers available for the public to use.  The library also carries print subscriptions of The Burlington Hawkeye and the Des Moines Daily Register, if you are looking for regional and statewide news.

There is a bulletin board at City Hall where public notices are posted.  Also, as public records, physical copies of the minutes of city and county meetings can be requested.  However, more government information is being offered electronically.  For example, city and county meeting agendas and minutes can be found online, as well as recordings of Fort Madison City Council meetings. 

As an increasing amount of the information needed to stay informed is moving online, it can be easy to begin feeling left behind if you are unfamiliar with computers and online resources.  One of the services that the Fort Madison Public Library offers is classes on how to use computers and the internet.  Call Sarah Clendineng at (319) 372-5721 to schedule an appointment.  You don’t have to know a lot about how computers work to learn how to access some of these basic resources to help keep yourself informed.

Finally, if you are reading this and know someone who would like to be more informed, but is unsure where to start, please share this information with them.  Your local public library is a great place to start if you ever have any questions,

Sarah Clendineng
Fort Madison Public Library
1920 Avenue E
Fort Madison, IA 52627

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