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Mid-County branch of St. Louis County library reopens

"I've been waiting for this library to reopen," says LaVicki Hart, center, of Frontenac, "It's my favorite location." Hart asks librarian Sarah Heend a question during the grand reopening of the St. Louis County Library's Mid-County branch, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Hart's friend Sweet-T Harmony waits at right, so they can continue their tour of the new place. Photo by Hillary Levin,

Many stories and articles have been written about reasons people have moved from the coasts to St. Louis because of the area's startup ecosystem, but our journey from California was driven by the strength of the library system.

My wife is a public librarian, and the financial crisis in 2008 caused her to be laid off, rehired, and face another layoff from her job in California. In order for her to thrive in her profession, we had to look for a system that wasn’t so fragile. We wanted to find a library system that invested in its people, places and communities.

Since landing in St. Louis in early 2012, I’ve appreciated the growth of the St. Louis County Library. While I work in the startup ecosystem, and have seen it grow, libraries and access to information are critical to the long-term health of our region.

I’ve been disheartened by the vocal minority in Frontenac serving as obstructionists. Their actions come across as very short-sighted and falls into the category of NIMBY (not in my back yard). If St. Louis is going to continue to attract people to the region, we need to build with the future in mind.

Travis Sheridan • St. Louis