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April 23, 2019

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Brian, You're absolutely right: you do sound overly critical.

You obviously have not done any investigation into this by actually talking with someone on the Library Advisory Board or the city librarian, relying on the lead of others whose opinions you spread even further by including them in "your" opinion piece. One has to wonder if you are "capable of independent thinking" or just regurgitating what others write with an added dose of snark.

The LAB recommendation was a unanimous decision to support the educated, trained, and experienced staff who were hired to make the library, which they care deeply about, a viable, active, current and successful community resource. Just because they have a different opinion than you does not mean that they are "captured" and "doing the bidding of library staff".

These are not just "overly critical" comments, but totally unfair! You do not know these people or what they have done to prepare for their voluntary commitments. You sat next to Lois Stark during a lunch the other day and never said one word to her. You could have asked her about what research she has done on this issue: her discussions with Jim Scheppke, meetings with the head librarian, listening to librarians from other libraries, the hours and hours of listening to public comments at LAB meetings and City Council meetings (yes, she was at the last 2 CC meetings to hear any discussion that might come up), online research, requests for statistics and information from staff, and going out of her way to visit other libraries in the country when the opportunities have arisen in order to learn how they do the necessary work of weeding books.

I realize you are not a reporter, but a self-proclaimed snarky blogger, and as such, you can make whatever uninformed negative and critical comments you feel like. Just know that you are being totally unfair to concerned and involved citizens who, like you and others, care deeply about the library - and books. So much so, that they step forward to be on library boards - and other boards and committees and councils - which you denigrate with a very broad stroke, spending countless hours fulfilling their volunteer responsibilities which they, at least in some cases, take very seriously.

How about this rewording of one of your last sentences:

Citizens (and bloggers) should keep an open mind when the well-informed Library Advisory Board presents views that differ from those of certain individuals.

It would seem that replacing older books with newer books would be a good idea but according to Neil Gaiman, a well respected writer whose opinion I find credible, 90% of new books are crap. If the library brings in so many more new books that they are unable to continue to offer quality, then overall demand will gradually decline. Newer books may be appealing for the short term, but most will quickly become irrelevant - unlike many older books that have become a part of America's literary history. They may not be checked out often, but they are still important. Many of the newer books are published merely for their profit potential. In the same way that quality in music and movies have been compromised by a corporate publishing and distribution system, a books success is judged by the numbers and not the content. Nobody means to demean library workers but the refusal to review such an important decision would be irresponsible. Council has rightfully called for more information, including more specific data about books that were removed and those slated for removal. We should reserve judgement while considering what we feel is best for our library. Will we be compromising the quality of the collection by abandoning important but less used materials. I certainly think so.

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