My understanding is that Rep. Greg Walden voted against the bill that would have provided federal funding to Jackson County libraries. I read a couple articles in the Mail Tribune to the effect that Greg Walden was seeking federal funding for the libraries, and yet, I believe when he voted against the recent Iraq funding bill he voted against the libraries. Am I the one who is confused here? — Jane Anderson, Jacksonville

My understanding is that Rep. Greg Walden voted against the bill that would have provided federal funding to Jackson County libraries. I read a couple articles in the Mail Tribune to the effect that Greg Walden was seeking federal funding for the libraries, and yet, I believe when he voted against the recent Iraq funding bill he voted against the libraries. Am I the one who is confused here? — Jane Anderson, Jacksonville

For some time I have been upset over the library issue. If the supporters of the spotted owl hadn't been so diligent on saving them, we might have the timber dollars needed to support the library and the many other services this state needs.

Why should the U.S. government continue to subsidize the loss of timber revenue? Talk about waste.

The supporters of the library and the save-the-spotted-owls people can now support our economy by buying books from our bookstores.

I feel the system has mismanaged our libraries and I won't vote to give them any more money. Why were new buildings built that we couldn't afford to operate?

My suggestion is to sell all the libraries except the downtown branch and use the money to expand school libraries, making them multi-usable. Return the money to the people that supported the bond levy to build the buildings. During the day students use the library and in the evenings and weekend the public can use the libraries. Doesn't this make more sense, being that our children are the ones that need and use the libraries the most? — Susan Marshall, Medford

The failure of the recent library levy provides an interesting insight into the board of "opinion leaders" recently selected by the Tribune. While purported to represent the entire community and have diverging views, on the library levy, the board followed Tribune editorial opinion almost to a person, supporting passage of the levy. Only one person on the board questioned the levy, and then still endorsed passage.

The community voted 60/40 against the levy. Thus only 40 percent followed the Tribune's view. What a surprise, maybe the opinion board isn't quite as representative of the views of the community as the Tribune would have us believe. Ever heard of a "stacked deck?" Think about it! — Raymond Smith, Central Point

Libraries are essential to the health of our society. Responsibility to fund them has been through county government.

The voters' vision to build libraries in every community as a legacy for all citizens for the next several decades is real. Our demographics are different from other counties or large cities in Oregon. We have to find a way to fund them that is responsible financially and socially, for growth and vibrance.

We know for rural areas it's the only "center." In cities, it's a vital part of the picture.

This three-year levy was to be a bridge to keep doors open and find better funding and responsible operation levels. We as citizens need to leave negative rhetoric behind and help find a better solution.

It takes commitment, willingness, passion and compromise. Also, the ability to see beyond ourselves for the betterment of our social whole. Join me to do that! — Janis Mohr-Tipton, Applegate, former Ruch branch supervisor

It is a shame that the individuals that wrote the library funding measure did not do their homework. Many voters, myself included, would have voted for a measure that provided funding at half or less than the proposed level of funding. They put a Mercedes measure on the ballot when most voters wanted a Chevy. — D. Watson, Medford

I am sitting here watching TV and viewing the vote updates. The levy is failing.

My 11-year-old daughter looks up at me and says, "Mommy, why don't people here want libraries?"

"Good question." I say, unfortunately with no other answer.

Having just moved here from Spokane, Wash., we went through this crisis a few years ago. It is shocking to me that a community of this size will not support such an important institution.

This is a sad day for Jackson County residents and any other people who will have the misfortune of moving here. — J.R. Anderson, Medford

Recently my fourth-grade class wrote letters to President Bush urging him to allocate funds back into the O&C budget so Jackson County libraries wouldn't be shut down. The students each wrote their own letter, which were sent to the White House with a cover letter explaining the nature of our letters.

Last week our class received a response letter from the White House that infuriated my students. The letter we received encouraged all of us to visit our library, the very libraries we had written about to keep open. The students reached out as young citizens acting as social agents of change. They recognize that in order to be lifelong learners, literacy is imperative. It was in this vein that they wrote this letter and the blatant disregard they received spoke volumes about the time dedicated to their efforts.

My students felt completely disappointed with the president's response and interpreted his message to read, that he doesn't really care about them or their education. If he had cared, we wouldn't have received a letter suggesting we visit our closed libraries. — Kristen O'Hara, Medford

On election night, while involved in a book, my 5-year-old said, "I love to read."

I am wondering how I will explain to my young children, who are always hungry to read, that there is no more library. How will we educate our children and ourselves?

I am only to assume that those who voted no on the levy place a higher value on saving a few bucks a month over having a more educated and informed society. If the rest of the world sees Jackson County with its largest library closure in U.S. history as a community of ignorant tightwads, they will be mostly correct. — F. Oyung, Medford