I'm writing to you today, thankful for the past and excited for the future. This letter comes two years to the day since I was appointed by a unanimous vote to the Amarillo Library Advisory Board. The vote made me the youngest person ever placed on a municipal board in Amarillo, in addition to the only person ever appointed to an Amarillo board while still in high school. I still look back and am amazed at reading my name in the Amarillo Globe-News as the selected candidate, while also seeing the multitude of qualified individuals who also applied for that position. This is along with the fact that I was appointed to hold the seat once held by one of the longtime members of the board.
During the two years I have served on the Amarillo Library Advisory Board, I think the thing that has stood out to me the most is the engagement of the community in the library system of Amarillo. I remember getting my first library card when I was 3 years old, and have been a proud patron of the Amarillo Public Library ever since. But, seeing even more citizens from all walks of life participate not just in the most obvious functions of the library, but also in the community functions has been something truly rewarding. The staff of the Amarillo Public Library seems to be one of the treasures of Amarillo's local government, as these men and women go to great lengths to make sure their community has the resources it so desperately needs.
However, I also look at the more serious times on the board, as well. I can recall when your City Council attempted to close three library branches in 2017, discriminating against taxpaying library patrons. I recall a meeting during that time when multiple concerned citizens showed up, wanting answers from the Library Board about the proposed closing, because the City Council didn't seem to be providing any answers. I am glad that at that time, my board was able to provide this information, unlike the City Council.
Throughout these two years spent faithfully serving Amarillo and its library patrons, I have learned a lot. I have learned to appreciate even more the sacrifices made and the hard work performed by the library staff. I have also acquired an even deeper appreciation for the experiences offered by the library for everyone, regardless of their background. The Amarillo Public Library is a real treasure.
But, as we come to the end of my second year on this board, I wanted to reflect. And, in looking at the result of my reflections, I have considered a key point in my thoughts on government. I have always believed new ideas and new blood are needed for progress. I have been privileged to serve two years on the Amarillo Library Board, and believe new blood is needed. Therefore, I intend to resign from my seat effective immediately. By doing so, I hope a new representative will take my place, with the same commitment to representing all citizens and standing up for the patrons of the Amarillo Public Library, when needed.
Although I am leaving this board, I do not want you to think for a minute that I am departing from my commitment to make Amarillo a better place for everyone to live. I intend to remain extremely active in our local government and civic process, and I do believe you will be seeing much more of me as we approach election season in Amarillo. Although our elected officials have turned their backs on communities like North Amarillo time and again, I still believe advocates are needed to make sure the concerns of citizens are never forgotten. For example, if people were not engaged in 2017, your City Council may have succeeded in cutting the budget for these [three] library branches, which would have served nobody well.
So, while I will miss my time on the Library Board, and will always remember it fondly, I am excited and looking forward to the future, with excitement for what lies in store for Amarillo. To quote Dr. Seuss, "Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one." And, Madame Mayor, I certainly am looking forward to tomorrow.
With humblest regards,
Thomas Warren III