Greenwood, Arkansas is a perfect example of how an unwavering focus on a single area can lead to the neglect of others. Greenwood High School has an excellent football team, so the stadiums are always packed and the roar of the game can be heard throughout the city. The spray of fireworks above the bleachers during every winning game can be seen from miles around. The academic performance of the school is strong, therefore a brand new state-of-the-art Freshman Center was completed last year. Located in the heart of the Bible Belt, Greenwood contains enough churches to satisfy a city double the size (27 at last count). Despite the benefits of being very good at a few things, Greenwood has trouble focusing on broadening its cultural appeal. There are only 5 kinds of food available in town: Tex-Mex, Pizza, Chinese Buffet, Mexican, and Fast Food. Each time a new restaurant attempts to open, it is always found shuttered a few months later because it did not meet the strict criteria of the Greenwood majority. Traffic comes to a standstill when the town residents get off work, but the streets are empty after 9 p.m. The biggest anticipation the town has felt all year was the months leading to the grand reopening of the local Mcdonalds. A movie rental shop still rents out actual DVD’s, and you can tan in the back room. A constant flow of white suburbans lumber through the Sonic drive-in. This town runs on Cherry Limeade.
The residents of Greenwood have a tendency to follow the same patterns as their peers, and fresh ideas are few and far between. The library, located in the center of town, reflects the attitude Greenwood has towards gaining knowledge. It stands derelict, surrounded by a gravel parking that is almost always empty lot, flower beds overflowing with untrimmed hedges. The building dates back to the 1950’s, and nothing has been done to maintain its condition. The bookshelves overflow with material, bent towards the floor underneath the weight they carry. Dim lighting makes the spines hard to read on a bright day, and impossible on a cloudy one. The only seating available to read/research is a cracked leather arm chair that looks to be as old as the building, and a small wooden table surrounded by four chairs. The librarians face an insurmountable challenge to check out, catalog, and replace the books that flow in and out of the building. A library should act as a cultural beacon, one that reflects a cultivated society. A new library would not only better serve the needs of those that already use the current one, but it would also draw people in who haven’t thought of using one regularly before. The new building will provide an influx of new ideas which will hopefully spread throughout the community so that it will become more well-rounded and progressive in the future.
In order to build a new library in Greenwood, I would have to convince the citizens that a new library is a necessary addition to the town. I could convince the elementary schools to hold an assembly informing children of the importance in reading in their lives. I would send a handout home with each child to inform the parents about the benefits of having easy access to quality reading material. I would also hold meetings in Town Hall to inform people about the awful condition of the current building and to illustrate how a new building would benefit the town. It would only be through the education of the citizens that I could possibly propose a tax increase to fund the building of a new library.
I would also find a corporate donor to buy new books to fill the structure. The best option for a donor in Greenwood would be Farmer’s Bank. Farmer’s Bank funds many different projects from building stadiums to supporting the football team. In order to convince Farmer’s Bank to support the building of a new library, I would have to pitch them the angle that it would broaden the bank’s appeal to more customers. By sponsoring a new library, Farmer’s Bank would market itself to a new potential client base that prefers education over sports. This would help out a local business while also accomplishing my goal to improve my town. While Greenwood is very successful, it must first broaden its horizons before it can become prosperous.