Let's have five-year truce in library dispute

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When I learned that a group of people had formed the Library Users Coalition to help address the community concerns regarding the impasse between the Rural Library District and the Walla Walla Public Library, I was relieved

When I learned that Alice McDonald had been appointed to the Rural Library Board to help represent the library interests of the nearly 11,000 residents of suburban Walla Walla, I was relieved. It was easy for me to depend on the goodness and willingness of others to solve what has become a very complex and contentious situation regarding the future of library service in our wonderful community. It was easy for me to tell myself that "everything will now be fine."

Everything is not fine.

On Jan. 1, those of us who reside in the area of suburban Walla Walla will lose our ability to check out materials at the Walla Walla Public Library, and the Plaza Branch of the RLD will be our only library resource.

Furthermore, those who reside inside the city limits and use the Walla Walla Public Library will be using a library that is drastically underfunded due to the loss of revenueit has been receiving from the RLD contract that allows county residents to access that library. I can only imagine the loss of hours and service that comes with a $245,000 budget cut. This is absolutely a lose-lose situation for all citizens in our Walla Walla community.

With a Dec. 31 deadline fast approaching, I would like to propose a five-year "truce." I would like to propose that the RLD and the city of Walla Walla agree to a five-year extension of the 2012 contract to buy time to work through the complexity of issues and to (hopefully) collaborate and create a library service plan that is win-win and sustainable for our community.

If you agree with this idea or have another idea that preserves the current level of library service and can be implemented between now and Dec. 31, please let your voice be heard.

Attend meetings, write letters to the RLD director and its board, to the county commissioners, to the city library director and its advisory board and the Walla Walla City Council. It is going to take a choir of voices to ensure that everything is fine with the library services in our Walla Walla community on Jan. 1.

Rhonda Olson

Walla Walla

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