By Lisa Aston Bauer
Berthoud Recorder Guest Editorial
Last week I read a letter about how a patron said that my taxes were being used to buy coffee and furniture used by children in the Berthoud Community Library. How dare they indoctrinate future Starbucks customers on my dime? I was horrified. Don’t they know that coffee stunts growth, encourages serial killers and contributes to acid reflux?
Hadn’t they heard that in medieval times coffee was considered a drug and early coffee shops were seen as dens of iniquity, subject to shutdown by municipal authorities across Europe?
Then I discovered on WebMD that coffee can lower the risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer, and cavities. It can also lift mood. Vanderbilt’s Dr. Tomas DePaulis found that coffee improves concentration in children, and may help them do a little better on tests for this reason. And a recent finding from Brazil suggests that children who drink coffee with milk are less likely to have depression than other children.
This naturally led me to start thinking that if coffee could improve concentration and alleviate depression in children, that maybe it could do that for adults.
After brewing and drinking a pot, I was hit with a happy, cavity-free inspiration to call the library (what a handy device that phone) and discovered — shockingly — that our taxes don’t pay for the kid java, or those chic-Pottery-Barn-Wannabe tables and chairs. The Friends of the Library were to blame. It was a donation, obviously with a hidden agenda.
Let’s face it: who needs chairs and tables in a library? You should check out your books quickly and keep moving. Sitting down could lead to conversations, meetings, socialization, contemplation, and information gathering that could mean you’d eventually find out that non-profit all volunteer troupe working for the library are the ones behind this entire subterfuge intent on brainwashing our town’s youth, clothed in the guise of a casual café. Innocent elderly ladies, my eye.
Thanks to my buzz, I quickly mentally calculated that my $75.46 in library tax money actually gets me much more, because I receive about $197.28 of value in return for every $1 in taxes (see http://Berthoud.COLibraries.org/what-is-my-library-worth.html.) Wow, that means I get $14,886.75 of value for less than what I spend quarterly on — you guessed it — coffee. Now I don’t feel so bad when I interlibrary loan 86 books from Denver or have to pay $3 in late fees.
My mind (and heart) racing, I started thinking about the $1,015.70 in property tax I also pay for public schools, which I don’t personally use because I home school. Yet, undoubtedly, there is value for all, as we all know that school is cheaper than prison, although the food is better there. A library district has all potential users also contributing, and as we all know, it’s easier to check out a book than have a baby.
Suddenly, reason was getting easier and faster. Coffee was the answer. Those medieval folks were as wrong about coffee as they were about demonically possessed apples, witch burning and the Inquisition.
If coffee could do all those things, it just might help inattentive curmudgeons who can’t figure out a phone or who want children to fail their tests.
I’m thinking about donating an espresso machine to help the 5,400+ Berthoud Library patrons be happy without Prozac and perhaps further annoy those who don’t believe in tables and chairs.
Of course, for those who don’t drink coffee, the library could install pay toilets.