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It’s really enough to make my head spin

January 28, 2008

This is a rant, so be warned.

The village I live in is part of a town.  This town, called Greenburgh, is comprised of 5 other villages.  There are parts of Greenburgh that are not part of any village, and are considered to be “unincorporated” parts of the town.  Got that?  It’s taken a while for me to understand that too.

Anyhow, the village I live in is served by a lovely library.  It’s small, tiny even, but it has a great children’s library (donated by Mr. and Mrs. Tom Carvel, of ice cream fame) and has great programs for both kids and adults.  It’s been recognized as one of the best small libraries in the country by the ALA.  It’s not often that I find the specific book I want when browsing in the library, but the staff is incredibly helpful and eager to get you what you need through interlibrary loan.   IT Boy has attended wonderful music and reading programs there (for free!) and Little IT is a frequent flyer in their summer reading program.  I consider it an asset to our community to have a library like this available to village residents.   

The town has it’s own library.  It’s where I used to go before I moved into the village.  It’s bigger, and had a lot of programs going on.  It was open on Sundays, which my current library is not.  It even had a “cybermobile” that went to scheduled stops during the week and special school and town functions, bringing Internet access and books to those who cannot get to the library for whatever reason. 

Why is all that in past tense?  Because the library went into mothballs over a year ago for an expansion project.  There was a contentious vote on a new budget which passed, and then construction began.  The books were moved to storage for the most part, with some being held in two temporary locations and the cybermobile. 

Well, it’s later, and the library is showing no signs of being finished.  People are fighting, name-calling, and finger pointing left and right about why it’s still under construction.  I’m not saying the library has always been right – there seem to be a number of things that they have been fighting for which seemed to me at least to be petty and a waste of taxpayer money.  But recently, they lost any of my support when out of the blue they reacted to an audit of their finances by stopping the cybermobile service and cutting Sunday hours.  Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.  They’re griping about how they need to keep their new year budget for new materials the same, while they are currently occupying about 10% of their current space.   They’ve budgeted for programs that they don’t have the space to provide.  But because the town, who provides but does not oversee their funding, has started to question things, they’ve come up with this brilliant solution to hurt those who use and support the library.  This may not be my library, but my grandmother who is not mobile was a frequent partron of the cybermobile, like many seniors.  Losing this service hurts her.  Sunday may not have been the most popular day to be at the library, but when I would go I saw many teens doing homework and reading.  Take that away from them and where do they go?  And what’s most disturbing is reading the comments on the Town Supervisor’s blogabout how libraries aren’t needed at all, with Google and the Internet.  These great unwashed, who in most cases are posting anonymously, don’t use the library, so therefore no one must have a need for it and it can be eliminated.  These are the same folks who gripe about how bad the schools are and how it’s bringing down their property values.  There’s a correlation here, people.  And while I cannot say I fully support the Greenburgh Library’s attempts to reinvent themselves, as a former patron I can say they provided invaluable services to me and my family.  I’m being served by another library now, which I am so grateful for, as it is “drama free.”  I wish the bickering at the town level would stop, as it’s only hurting those in the town who most need the support. 

Thank you for your viewership.  Soapbox dismounted. 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Barbara Gavin permalink
    January 29, 2008 9:31 am

    You must be furious.
    Despite working for a publisher, I am not a book buyer. I rely on my public library (and the consortium to which it belongs) to feed my voracious appetite for novels.
    Luckily you have the village library…but the tragedy is that for every month or semester or year that the town library is closed or less than accessible, kids will get out of the habit of using the library, of relying on it as a resource. Which only contributes to the growth of the unwashed masses – those who think drama is “Survivor”.

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