Monday, October 25, 2010

Libraries, Levies, and Lessons on Citizenship. . . Update

I would like to commend the local newspaper for their careful consideration of the library levy request I blogged about last month and their conclusion that there is too much emphasis on spending taxpayer's limited resources for new buildings (read about it here). The newspaper editorial board understands that just because libraries are vital to our communities doesn't mean every request for money should get a rubber stamp.

There are viable options that have not been explored by this library because they lack vision - their thinking is limited by what has been done in the past. Instead of seeing a library as a fixed building, perhaps it should be viewed as a concept. Maybe small hubs set up in existing space such as shopping centers, ferry terminals, or public buildings, could be strategically located throughout the county. Instead of building more structures to house large collections of books, service requests for books out of a centrally located warehouse (it should be easy to find a cooperative landlord in this economy). Use the bookmobile (add another?) to more efficiently meet the needs of the entire county.

Libraries as well as other public service organizations, need to think outside the box (box = fancy architectural monument). Don't put money into buildings that are expensive to build and maintain - put money into ideas and the highly trained professional staff to make the ideas work. The world is changing too quickly to justify spending money on a building that will be out of date before it is even finished.

I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I do know there are questions this library has not asked and opportunities they have not explored.

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