DEAR ABBY: It's Father's Day and I'd like to salute one particular unsung hero -- my dad. He was there for me and my sister despite a difficult workload throughout our childhood. He has always been generous with love and affection, and I have no doubt that he has sacrificed things he wanted personally for our benefit.
Dad has been the calming voice during times of strife. He can fix anything from a broken washing machine to a broken heart. He has not only nurtured us, but our children as well.
He has been our role model when it comes to setting an example of what a man, husband, father and grandfather should be. He is never judgmental and has always shown us the best in ourselves. He's consistent in his love of God, country and family. He is patient, kind, generous and smart in ways I only wish I could be.
To top it off, he found us the best mother we could have hoped for. They have been married 58 years. My unsung hero doesn't wear a cape, but I do believe he has certainly earned a halo. -- SHARON IN BRANDON, FLA.
DEAR SHARON: What a sweet letter. I'm printing it to honor not only your father but also the millions of men who dedicate themselves daily to raising their children with love and support. In addition, I'd like to extend a Happy Father's Day to fathers everywhere -- not only birth fathers but also stepfathers, foster fathers and those caring individuals who mentor youngsters whose parents are absent or deceased.
Bless you all.
DEAR ABBY: Will you please help librarians across the country clarify something that is generally misrepresented to the public?
Patrons who need assistance operating a computer may be able to get help at their local library. That's "may," not "can." Too often, people are instructed to go to their library and use a computer to file taxes, redeem a gift, print pictures, etc. The fact is, not every library has computers with Internet access. Most do, but not all.
Further, many libraries lack sufficient staff to offer one-on-one support to operate a computer. To someone who is proficient, it may seem strange that a person can't simply lay a hand on a mouse and go. The reality is, computers and the Internet are not intuitive to those who haven't been exposed to them -- and there are many.
While I don't know of a librarian who wouldn't like to offer unlimited assistance to computer users, libraries nationwide are losing staff due to budget cuts. At the same time, use of libraries is steadily increasing. It's frustrating to disappoint patrons who expect to receive instruction in computer operation. We prefer they leave our building happy.
So, Abby, please spread the word. Computers and Internet services vary from library to library. Readers should ask their librarian about what services are available at their local branch. -- CONCERNED CITIZEN, EASTHAMPTON, MASS.
DEAR CONCERNED CITIZEN: Thank you for shining a light on this important subject.
Readers, if this letter is as disturbing to you as it is to me, write your congressional representative and express your concern. For lower- and middle-income people of every age, libraries have performed -- and continue to perform -- a vital function. Their budgets must not be slashed to the point that they can no longer fulfill their mission of informing and educating the public.