Monday, March 25, 2013
At the core, the ongoing library controversy is not really about providing the best library services possible in Walla Walla County for all. (The Rural Library District is already doing this and plans to continue improving its services to its constituents.)
There is controversy because the Library Users Coalition sees the $3.5 million that the RLD has saved for nearly 40 years (for the purpose of expanding and improving library services in the rural areas) and it wants it for the library in the city.
Who are the members of the LUC anyway?
If they are living in the unincorporated areas of Walla Walla they should contact the RLD Board directly since they are RLD constituents. If they are people living within the city limits, I would respectfully point out that what the RLD does is really none of their business. City residents do not pay taxes to the RLD. Therefore, they do not have the right to tell the RLD what to do.
The LUC people are desperate to save their city library — a noble cause. Instead of working for positive change in the city, however, they are seeking to destroy what the RLD is doing. If the LUC would spend its time and energy fighting for the city library, rather than against the Rural Library District, we would have a viable city library as well as adequate services for county residents. The LUC needs to change its focus.
The LUC should help the city library make needed changes to become financially solvent. It should lobby the City Council to make funding of the library a higher priority or get the laws changed so that library services are based on consistent tax revenue rather than the whims of the City Council. (The reason that the county has such good library services is because we pay taxes toward the library. If a library is important to city residents, then they need to find a way to adequately fund it!)
If the LUC would implement some of these strategies, the city library would be strengthened. And by working positively for improving its own library, the LUC won’t feel the need to disrupt what the RLD is accomplishing for its constituents. It will find it won’t need to cross the fence into the county pasture to find green grass — it will find that the grass is lush and green in its own pasture.