The news that the leadership of the Walla Walla Public Library and the board of directors of the Walla Walla County Rural Library District have failed to come up with a solution to our community's library funding problems is deeply disappointing.
The "Library Working Group" claimed it did its best. But it's hard to overestimate how much damage this impasse will cause.
It's not just the money and resources that will be wasted on duplicate facilities and reduced services. The failure to find a way to cooperate or consolidate our two library systems will seriously divide our community.
Many of our neighbors on the other side of the city limits have been paying library taxes at higher rates for years for the right to use the downtown library. Will these county residents feel welcome in our historic downtown when they're told they're not welcome to use the public library?
I've been researching and writing about our library dispute for a community journalism blog and I think the solution to this issue is relatively simple. Our two competing library systems should both be annexed to the Mid-Columbia Libraries.
At the "Walla Walla Watchdogs" blog (wallawallawatchdogs.org) I explain in detail why I think the Mid-Columbia Libraries could better serve our community, at significant savings to taxpayers.
Please take a look, and let me know if you have any comments, corrections or suggestions. The future of our libraries is just too important for this stalemate to be tolerated.