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CAN'T GET SPRING FAST ENOUGH: Shorts, skirts and flipflops: Students outside the TSC are eagerly awaiting the warmth that has been favoring Salt Lake City for weeks. / Photo by Josh Russell
today's word on

Thursday, March 10, 2005

From the High School Free Speech Front:

"If they feel an article isn't appropriate, they will pull it -- or ask the student to make changes to it. They said that isn't censorship. They said they're just approving or not approving what goes in. What's your definition of censorship?"

--Hawley Kunz, co-editor of the Warrior News, Weber High School, Pleasant View, Utah. The principal ordered prior review of the monthly newspaper after an editorial critical of the condition of the school's running track. (3/8/05)

Newton's library is Cleo Griffin's dream made real

By Chris Johnsen

February 15, 2005 | NEWTON -- Cleo Griffin wanted to give other children the opportunity her children had never had: a local library.

As a child living in Georgetown, Idaho, a volunteer book-sharing program cultivated Griffin's love for reading. By the age of 13 she had read most of the classics. Some of her favorite authors today include Leo Tolstoy and Michael Crichton.

"The main goal was to give children a chance . . . its fun to get on your bike and go to the library," said Griffin, library board director. From no roots to grassroots the Newton library represents a community coming together to send messages to their children about the importance of reading.

"[Newton] families are more involved in their kid's education," said Earl Jenkins, 42.

Library patron Blake Aguilles, 14, said he enjoys the library because it gets him out of the house and that the library's success says "you can still do a lot in a small town."

The town literary club made the first donation towards starting the library, $50, and that donation was followed by fund-raisers including hamburger-stands. Funding for the library has been through donations and state and federal grants.

A local citizen, Ruby Woodward, started a grandparent account that has members pledge to donate $100 a year. "Our grandparent account keeps us alive . . . many give more," said Griffin.

"This is a great town to live in because they're very caring people, it's a real sports town, but when these kids grow up they're going to read," said Griffin.

Griffin said she felt the need to start a library after receiving a calling in her church to be a literary specialist. "I've always believed with the help of the Lord you can do anything," said Griffin through tears. Her Bishop had asked her to pray about what she felt she needed to do as the literary specialist. She felt the answer to her prayers was to start a town library.

With the help of local volunteers, the library first opened in May of 1998. Eagle Scout and Young Women projects supplied bookshelves. Donations also included carpet, tables, chairs, lumber, and money. More than 10,000 books came from surrounding communities and one computer was donated. Currently the library has over 20,000 books and six computers with Internet access.

Griffin said the State told her Newton was too small to support a library. "We don't have a big enough population to sustain it, but were doing it," said Griffin.

Donations have also come from AT&T and Comcast who have provided free high-speed Internet access and phone lines to the library. Computers have come from Newton resident Rex Rasmussen and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Griffin said library historical picture collections have attracted donations from former Newton residents, Jackie Leavitt and Senator Orrin G. Hatch.

Griffin was born in Idaho and has lived in Newton for 58 years. She is retired from the IRS and had eight children, six living today. Griffin currently works as a town librarian.

The Newton library is open Monday and Friday from 3 to 7, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 6, Thursday from 10 to 1, and Saturday from 12 to 4. The library is located in the Newton Town Hall at 51 S. Center.



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