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Yelm Timberland Regional Library
Photo courtesy of Guustaaf Damave

The Nisqually Valley News story last week titled “TRL, city looking at library options” sure raised more questions than it answered about the future of a Library in Yelm, so much so, I wrote to Timberland Regional Library (TRL) Manager of Administrative Services Michael Crose with these observations:

Here is what I gathered from this article:

1. So, due to the TRL budget deficit, I ascertain Yelm will continue to be the only library in the entire TRL system not housed in a public facility (except the gifted facility in Montesano).

2. TRL is going to allow Yelm ANOTHER exemption to operate in a leased, private & non-public facility for some unspecified length of time. How long will TRL allow Yelm to continue to lease in a private building after 2012 — just on and on and on???

3. Staying in Prairie Park is one option and realistically the only one, since I know of no vacant building the size of the current location to house the Library were it to move.

4. Prairie Park is going to raise the rent, as it were, raising the costs in the current facility. Ouch!

5. At the end on the 2012 lease, the city takes on all of the expenses related to the Library lease, instead of splitting them with TRL for the 10-year lease. Ouch!

6. The city will not build a new library building. Ouch!

7. Mayor Harding will NOT share any of the options with the public until near the end of the lease in 2012 (assuming he is re-elected in 2009). Ouch!

Reading these 7 points, I am VERY concerned about a library here AND the fact that the public will be kept out of the loop about the future of their public library until 2012, according to the Mayor. Then City Council member Harding (elected in Nov., 2001) and the rest of the council heard in 2001 the Yelm Library was given an exemption beginning in 2002 to operate in a leased facility for 10 years, even at protestation from some TRL libraries who followed the rules and operated in a public facility.
The council did little to nothing in all of that time.
With the Mayor speaking untruths in the newspaper last Friday about a recent lawsuit the city lost and now other issues facing this city (from an unfunded Bypass, to having a vote to raise taxes last night, to a Superior Court Judge imposed mandate to halt the city issuing building permits in 5 subdivisions, to the State Dept. of Ecology telling the city they have gone over their water rights and have no water available for further building, to traffic that still has not been properly mitigated), I have NO confidence that there will be anything done about the library, except to remain where it is and pay the higher rent, all the while giving lip service to this issue until 2012 approaches. And clearly the Mayor and City Council do not get the Library Board involved and basically ignore this group and their mandate on the city’s website. CLICK HERE, then Citizen Committees, then Library Board.

A Yelm public library building has never been a priority with this Mayor and this issue’s fate seemed sealed years ago! Now, he will not tell the public of the city’s options until near the end of the current lease?
Why not NOW!
Why not get the public involved in the PUBLIC Library!

If I were still involved, I would NOT wait for the Mayor to announce the city’s options prior to the lease end in 2012, I would move to get a public building built here.
I know it can be done, even with the economic downturn.
I would immediately convene a group made up of the Schorno’s, Williams, Margaret Clapp, Edwards, Browns, JZ Knight, Nutters, Glen Cunningham, Kleins, Steve Craig, Keven Graves, Yelm Chamber Board and a few others and use all of the energies devoted to polarization here pointed for a common community goal and get this talented collective working together to pull their muscle to build a permanent public Yelm Library. This is my wish list, however I do not see that happening.

I think the NVN’s story points to some very big issues for our Yelm Library, where the City seems to have shoved them under the carpet to near lease end. Either privatize the library or make an effort for a public building; otherwise, the city is again using property-tax-collected, public monies to pay exorbitant rent for a public facility in a privately-owned building.

As one Yelm Blog reader wrote,
“As you know, TRL is experiencing financial cutbacks and a levy lid lift is scheduled for a vote in February. The library is now closed on Monday and although the Yelm Library core staff has not be cut back, their use of substitutes has been restricted. [Correction: the Yelm Library is now closed on Sundays, not Mondays. Open M-Th, 11-8, F/Sat. 11-5.]

Now, more than ever, people without jobs (and internet access) need the library’s resources. But their concerns about their own income and the continually rising costs of basic necessities may force them to vote against this lid lift. Will Yelm be faced with the same choice Roy is having to make….choose your library or your police force.

I don’t have the answer. I’m just one of the many people who live in this area existing on the edges just above poverty level and working a part-time job in town.”

This American Library Assn. article speaks volumes on this issue facing America’s Libraries.

TRL can do nothing without the cooperation of City Hall!

A music program is coming up in December: “Classical Guitar Music from around the World,” with guitarist Meredith Connie. You can sample her music at www.myspace.com/meredithconnieclassicalguitar.
Thursday, December 4, 7-8pm.
Check-out all of the Yelm Library events. CLICK HERE
then your month and check the Yelm location box.

And this story from the Nov. 14th NVN.
Library program expands local youths world view


Posted by Steve on November 26, 2008 at 6:16 am | Permalink

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