The celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo grew up in Gloversville, New York. It is a small industrial town that is struggling to survive. Its major industry was leather gloves, and the town’s economy crumbled as American women stopped wearing gloves. I can still remember as a teenage girl that I was expected to wear gloves at Sunday school, when going to any dress-up occasion (like a wedding), even for going on an airplane trip. Those expectations no longer exist, and Gloversville has been hard hit by the collapse of its primary industry.

 

Now there is a fund-raising drive to restore its elegant Carnegie library, which sits at the heart of town and is a meeting place for children and adult and a center of learning.

 

Richard Russo has been helping to raise money for the restoration of the library.

 

He told the New York Times:

 

“I do think I have a debt to pay, and I’m happy to engage now in paying it back,” he said.

 

In a recent speech, Mr. Russo spoke about his debt to Gloversville’s schools and library, declaring: “I’m a product of public education, government-backed student loans, and publicly funded institutions like the Gloversville Free Library. If you’ve lost faith in them, you’ve lost faith in basic democratic principles.”

 

Repeat, for the benefit of philanthropists, hedge fund managers, and elected officials of all parties: “If you’ve lost faith in them, you’ve lost faith in basic democratic principles.”

 

Reworded, for clarity and re-use (as suggested in a comment below): “If you’ve lost faith in public education and public libraries, you’ve lost faith in basic democratic principles.”