Posted by Quote from University South News Bulletin July 14, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Jul 14, 2006 at 10:49 pm
Strange Developments surrounding Libraries
The Weekly had a very provocative story featured on page 1,
July 5th, entitled "Friends or Foes?" The use of
the word foe in connection with Friends of the Library
(and other Friends organizations) got my attention.
If the newspaper's intention was to create controversy and increase
readership, they may succeed. I think it was a cheap shot,
but it is resonating, including my reactions here.
The Weekly wondered whether Friends organizations have too much
influence on the libraries. Aside from the humorous aspects
of the charge, I don't recall any Weekly story on whether the
developers have undue influence on the Planning Department.
And what about those soccer players? Do they have too much influence?
after all, we are spending huge sums to benefit them.
Yes, it's a real problem when citizens try to influence their government.
Shocking, in fact! And those hundreds of library lovers who work without
pay or glory to raise money for the libraries, now they're a real threat.
At least that's the way Sanford Forte, a library commissioner,
sees it. Forte has unleashed a series of rants that are unprecedented.
Accusatory, emotional, and inappropriate. He laments the
departure of the library director and is lashing out. I think his behavior is
bringing the LAC into further disrepute, expressing his prejudices supposedly as
a private individual, in public. Lenore Jones, another commissioner,
has written agreeing with him. His First Amendment rights are unquestioned.
His judgement, however, is.
Forte thinks people should follow the city staff's lead; they should get with the program.
His almost religious regard for the "professional staff" is naive and unquestioning
--and laughable to an educated audience. As though government officials always
do the right thing. People are encouraged to question their doctors and their
government. And well they should.
What seems odd to me in the timing of the story is that just this
week there have been several positive developments on the library front.
The library director who evoked so much distrust has left, the acting director
is moving things along nicely, and the next director will learn from earlier mistakes.
The move of staff into the Downtown branch is going to happen next week,
and while we are unhappy about it, we are adjusting to the disappointment.
Maybe we will think of ways to create a positive outcome. (ideas welcome)
At least that's what I'm thinking about.
This Monday the Assistant City Manager proposed and the City Council
decided to look into technological improvements for the library, ideas
that have been suggested by the Friends. (Thank you, Emily Harrison!)
Some councilmembers hadn't heard of Link+. *
The library commission has not been doing its job there.
Everyone says we need to work together or a ballot measure won't succeed.
With so many positive things happening, why did the Weekly decide to stir up animosities?
* My own colloquial description of Link+ is that it's like InterLibrary Loan on steroids.