June 18th, 2010
In honor of the upcoming July 4th holiday, let’s take a moment to consider the role we play as citizens in shaping our government. Martha Gellhorn, an American novelist, journalist, and war correspondent, once said “Citizenship is a tough occupation which obliges the citizen to make his own informed opinion and stand by it.” Of course, that opinion is up to you, but your local library can help you to become informed and to establish your viewpoint by connecting you with vital information.
All libraries collect and offer information on their county and local town governments, from copies of the Town Code and newsletters to financial reports and important notices. Our website contains a wealth of information on local government and issues. Click on the “Your Community” tab in green at the top of this page, and you’ll be connected with an extensive Guide to Government Officials. This helpful guide lists the names and contacts of all relevant political officials from your mayor to the president, including a listing of county and state agencies. You’ll also find a section on “News and Issues” here, which links you to numerous credible sources representing all sides of the debate on such local topics such as BRAC, growth and development, and forms of county government (an issue that’s up for debate again in November’s county elections; for more on this topic, check out our DVD titled Forms of County Government, available at all libraries.) Last, citizen journalism in the county has been on the rise in recent years, and this section of the website provides a listing of various Cecil County blogs on everything from local politics to entertainment and culture.
Several towns in Cecil County recently held their annual elections. Learning election results or the next election’s date no longer requires a visit to town hall – every town in the county has a website with this information and more. A basic internet search will usually guide you directly to your town’s site. Our county’s official government website includes information on a multitude of topics, including recent commissioner’s decisions, public notices, meetings and events, and a link to the online version of the County Code, to name a few of its features.
Many of us already use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends and family, but did you know that many local political candidates, government organizations, and non-profits also use these sites to connect with their communities? So, the next time you’re filtering through friend requests and catching up on postings to your wall, consider exploring what your district’s commissioner candidate has to say about the future of the county (and let them know what you think, too!).
All of this now said, where do you go to get information about issues that affect your community?