Multiple trips a week to the North Branch of the Hardin County Public Library were a common occurrence for Radcliff brothers Jorden and Justin Johnson.
Justin, 11, said he often rode his bike to the library. According to Jorden, 12, the brothers, who live right down the street from the facility, benefited from the library for a long time.
When he went, Justin said he enjoyed the books, especially the Star Wars books.
“I would get as many books as I could and just check them out,” he said. “When we had to return the books I would get on my bike, get a backpack, put all the books in my backpack, and go to the library.”
Justin and Jorden, along with their grandmother, Belinda Turner, were among the dozens of people gathered Tuesday outside the former PNC Bank building in Radcliff to show their support for the North Branch, which the Library Board of Trustees voted Sept. 10 to permanently close. The board cited financial reasons and declining use.
The decision was a 4-1 vote with Sue Story casting the lone dissenting vote. Voting to close were Marlane Youngblood, Will Flanagan, Suzanne Perla and Kevin Addington.
Tuesday’s rally, organized by the Radcliff Small Business Alliance, was meant to raise awareness for the community, not just in Radcliff or the northern end of the county, but to all who may not know that the library was closed. It also was a way to let the library board know not everyone is in agreement with the board’s decision.
Radcliff resident Dennis Rayburn said whoever made the decision to close the North Branch does not have a good grip on things. A Doctor Who fan, he compared books to the TARDIS, a fictional time machine and spacecraft that’s bigger on the inside than the outside.
“A book is a real life TARDIS. It’s bigger on the inside. It can take you anywhere, any place, anytime, no doctor required,” he said.
Turner, a graduate of North Hardin High School, said with the multiple schools in close proximity to the facility, it was accessible for the students to go there.
“Children that can’t afford internet and stuff like that or books, they can go there and it is kind of like a safe haven,” she said. “I would hate to see that library close for the kids, for my grandkids, for the children of the community. I would hate to see that library close. It would really affect the children.”
Rayburn said those children need a place where they can get a book and “learn the magic of reading.”
Radcliff resident Mary Yunker also said children need the library in Radcliff.
“Radcliff is not as rich as E’town so some of these kids here ... they can’t run down to E’town, but they can walk across from the school where it’s located,” she said.
Turner said the Elizabethtown library is not accessible for her grandchildren, who live with her. With the Radcliff branch, when she’s at work, Justin and Jorden were able to ride their bikes to the library.
“They can’t ride their bike all the way to E’town,” she said.
The rally was part of a save the Radcliff library awareness campaign underway in Hardin County spearheaded by the Radcliff Small Business Alliance.