Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Letter to the Editor

I wrote a letter to the editor in favor of the library and have already received to seething responses. Since you have to be a member of the Daily Journal to access it online I'm copying and pasting it and putting it here. Below that I'm including the first two rebuttals and my responses to them. Enjoy!

Letter: Voters missed chance to improve community

To the editor:
I, for one, congratulate the Johnson County library board for trying to move forward with the Franklin library plan.
After conducting numerous studies and surveys over many years, they, along with many, believed that the residents of Franklin were ready to move forward on the building of a much-needed new library.
Unfortunately for us, the majority of Franklin backpedaled when they realized that a new library would mean a slight increase in taxes. How shameful and cowardly.
Libraries have proved time and again to have a powerful return on investment for communities, but the 74 percent sure showed us that Franklin is not ready to look toward the future.

I would love to know how many of the residents opposed to the library members are actually card-holding members of the library. My guess is that most aren’t and because of their campaign, a vital part of the community is in jeopardy.
I hope that the library can come up with some sort of solution (imagine if the 74 percent weren’t allowed to use library resources — heck, that would sure save us money).
I implore everyone to use the library and see what a positive impact it has on our lives and on the community. We all need to work together and find a way to enlarge and improve our library and not hinder what small resources it has now.
As Eleanor Crumblehulme stated, “Cutting libraries in a recession is like cutting hospitals in a plague.”
Erin Cataldi

Todd Jeffcoat's Response:
No one backpedaled.  The community was very clear in their message up to and including the vote.  The problem was that the library administration did not want to listen - thus wasting our time and money on their pet project.
I carry a library card.  I used to use it often.  I live minutes away from the Franklin Branch.  The circulation manager, the building manager, and the adult services manager are rude and unhelpful.  I no longer use the library system because of that fact.
I also used to work for the Franklin branch, for almost 9 years.  The building manager and the adult services manager...well...let's say I don't believe they correctly followed policy or procedure. I also believe, based on my long experience with them, that serving the public was not a high priority with them.  That's a big reason, I believe, that the public voted against them. That's why I voted against the referendum - because the people who would use the money would misspend it (in my ever-so-humble opinion).
Nothing was 'cut' from the library, Ms. Cataldi.  They still have the resources they had before the referendum.
Your statement "imagine if the 74 percent weren’t allowed to use library resources — heck, that would sure save us money" smacks of segregation, class warfare, and the years of private libraries used by only the privileged few.  If that is indeed your solution, I wish you well, but there's a reason they don't exist - they don't work.
For every one of you who voted for the referendum, there were 3 that voted against.  I guess you missed the point of why the referendum failed. That's your loss, and it's sad.
Jackie Brockman's Response:
 I do not believe anyone backpeddled!Everyone I talked to before the election was very straight forward about their feelings on this and the percentage should show that.If a new library is needed then let those that actually use it help pay for it, I have not been in the library since the internet came along!Does anyone realize what $30,000,000 would do for the fire and EMS services in this county and that is something everyone needs!
My Response (again...)
To Miss Brockman,
First off, it was not going to be $30,000,000 it was only going to be $25,000,000 but no one seems to get past the fact that the total project cost is not the amount that people would be taxed on. Private donations were also not factored in.

Second off, major loss on your part Miss Brockman for not using the library. You may have firemen to keep your house and property safe, but you aren't doing your intellectual side any favors by not utilizing one of the best resources in town. The internet only provides so much. Google can bring you back 1 million answers, but a librarian can bring you back the right one. Everyone needs a library as much as they need proper EMS and fire services.

To Mr. Jeffcoat, 
Many people did in fact backpedal, I'm not talking about in the past few months, but in the past few YEARS. I honestly don't even want to respond to your condescending rebuttal. I'm sorry you haven't had a great library experience but shutting out the library isn't the way to handle things. The referendum failed because people only saw dollar signs and refused to look at the benefits of the project. Correct me if I'm wrong but out of that 74% you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who actually knew any of the members on the board were or carried a library card. 

I personally have a great experience at the library, the staff is phenomenal, and I have never once seen them mistreat a patron or do anything but go above and beyond. It might be your bitterness and cynicism towards the library that makes your experiences sub par. I encourage you to use the library before the people of Franklin hold another referendum to disband the library in order to save their pocketbooks.

1 comment:

  1. That's my girl! Succinct & to the point. I really hope they realize what they are missing & losing before it's too late. BTW, you didn't mention anything about the children's resources or how they have to remove so many books EACH YEAR to make room for new material...