I would like to voice my thoughts about the new Saturday Medford Market at the Medford Commons. I've gone there a number of times now and noticed the crowds starting to increase.

I would like to voice my thoughts about the new Saturday Medford Market at the Medford Commons. I've gone there a number of times now and noticed the crowds starting to increase.

My question is, how come we don't see any advertising on this? This seems to be a community/family type of event that should be promoted by the city. I find that its a good place to get my fresh vegetables and have snacks to eat while I shop. They have all kinds of craft stands also. They have a nice playground for the kids and benches for the adults to sit on. Kudos to the Medford Urban Renewal Agency for building this park and allowing the Market to use it for public events. — M. Hansen, Medford

In a letter July 11, Jeannie Gladson asks why she should have to pay for local libraries and schools that she herself doesn't use.

One is tempted to remark that perhaps a toll booth should be erected at the entrance to her street, so she can pay for what the rest of us rarely use. But the more appropriate response is that Medford is a community. We all contribute to schools, libraries, parks and other public amenities that make this a pleasant place to live and raise families, regardless of whether we ourselves have children, or what economic status we enjoy.

If she feels the cost is too high, perhaps she should consider what Medford would be like if no one wanted to pay for anything they personally didn't use. I don't think it would be very pleasant.

Americans used to be proud of their towns and cities, and the infrastructure that provided opportunities for all citizens, and they were willing to contribute to that dream. This attitude of "I don't use it so I'm not paying for it" is distressing to hear and inimical to the community spirit that makes America a wonderful place to live. — Grover Gardner, Medford

Jeannie Gladson (July 11) asks why property owners should pay taxes for libraries or schools they do not use.

Good question: Maybe we should only pay for the police after we've personally needed their services? But that's clearly silly. Obviously, the public good requires us all to contribute to fighting fires in our neighbors' yards and to plowing roads we don't personally drive on.

But why are libraries and schools as important as fire stations?

The practical answer is that ignorance costs all of us money, whether in the maintenance of prisons or the overuse of emergency rooms. In our hyper-connected world, our quality of life depends on helping all citizens reach their potential to contribute. Americans have always understood the necessity of working together; remember the concluding lines of the Declaration of Independence — "... we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

But the best answer is the survival of our representative democracy: Thomas Jefferson nailed it in 1816, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

Public libraries and schools need us, but more importantly, we all need them. — Susan Stitham, Ashland

The letter from Mary Horton about too many libraries really bothered me.

We have towns in the outlying places that have children and older people who cannot get into town easily. The libraries are their only means of books and computers.

It would be nice if all of these people could get to Medford to use the library. The library directors worked hard to get those libraries so the people farther out would have use of them. Then you get people who don't care if these children have access to books or computers (not every family can afford computers or to buy books).

Some people are very selfish. I would be willing to pay the extra $7 a month to help keep the libraries open and keep the Extension Service. People who do not care for our children and older people make me angry. — Judy Westcott, Talent