With the support of the city of Walla Walla, the Library Users Coalition is excited about circulating a resolution titled “Declaration of Support for Consolidating Library Services.” The first sentence urges the City Council to initiate adoption of an ordinance stating our intent to join the Walla Walla Rural Library District and for the RLD to be receptive.
It is critical to annexation that the city initiate the procedure. The Council has not responded positively to annexation since it first heard about it two years ago — until it received a letter from the RLD Board of Trustees last week eliminating the possibility in the near future. Even now the LUC has been guided to seek signatures from county residents to send to the county commissioners.
The second paragraph speaks to the benefits of annexation and its potential to meet the hopes many of us have — county or city — for the future of cooperative library programming and services in the Walla Walla Valley.
Already, it is proposed that district capital funds be used to purchase, enlarge, remodel and update the Walla Walla Public Library. The city has also displayed a historical lack of interest or experience in the collaboration and networking required for district library services philosophically grounded in resource sharing and universal access principles.
I am saddened at the decisions of the city to isolate the WWPL from operations of other libraries and library systems. It cannot be sustainable for the WWPL to stand alone. Nor can divesting the city of the expenses of a public library be the driving force behind annexation.
However, (and I quote from the Ruth Metz report) “Given the financial benefits of the annexation in sustaining library services in the county, the parties should be willing to take the risk. It will be critical that the County Commissioners mandate that the governors and library director [WWPL] provide an equitable countywide library plan of service that continuously integrates industry best practices (pg.42).”
The Library Working Group got as far as looking at some revenue and expenditure data. An equitable, countywide library plan of service must be put together before the county commissioners or the people of Walla Walla can be expected to act intelligently on annexation.