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The above response is more worthy of a Special to the Union Bulletin spot than Barbara Clark's continuing series of 'misinformation', and recycled, and insulting remarks. Debating one sentence in a full page ad? How desperate is that. 'Either of current proposals,' refers to 2 ideas, she assisted the WWPL Director prepare for the Library Working Group. They were presented, along with other ideas - none of which were seriously considered let alone developed. The City Council has not discussed these proposals and, in fact, announced at the time they were distributed in a Council meeting, that there would be no further contract negotiations with the RLD Board.
Quite the contrary, Council member Barabara Clark has immersed herself in library contract issues, discussions and operations - both with WALNET and the RLD these last few years. The new RLD library facility would not duplicate anything already in existance and, for the most part, it would combine services and collections currently housed in either existing RLD libraries or space leased by the RLD. That is being both accountable and efficient.
The City Council pretends that the RLDs plans to build a new library is the block to annexation. It should be honest and admit that it does not plan to support the WWPL out of the general fund with anything even close to the support provided by similiar size cities in the state. The RLD has to take out an ad to tell its story - otherwise most of an article about the RLD by the UB ends up on the correction page the next day..or so. When was the last time the UB printed letters received by library users supporting the RLD (and it has received them), interviewed the RLD Board or Director, ran a piece on the marvelous childrens programming also going on in the county this summer?
The WWPL has a larger circulation rate because 1.) of its method for counting circs and 2.) it has fewer current materials to circulate with a denser population in close proximity - of course the circ rate is going to be higher. WWPL was happy to drop out of WALNET . It couldn't handle the borrowing/loaning traffic generated by its own patrons requesting RLD and WWCC materials.
We should be working together on this issue but over and over again the City Council has blocked progress by manipulating public opinion, denegrating the rural residents (WWPL patrons read more books than do rural residents? What is she implying?!), breaking off negotiations and refusing to include annexation as part of the contract process. When the City is ready to mature and put past practices aside the RLD Board will once again be ready to listen. The RLD has a marvelous strategic plan. It knows where it is going and why. When the City wants to join that effort, it will be a great day for city library users and those residents who live close to the city limits.
I also attended the LUC meeting and came away with a differrent impression. There appeared to be @ 8 active LUC members actively engaged in blocking the building of a new RLD facility ( to combine administrative, technical and collection space now being leased). Most people were silent andlooking a bit bewilderd as to what petitions and resolutions had to do with being able to use the WWPL another year.
No vote was taken on anything nor have votes ever been taken at LUC meetings. Core members meet separatly and decide actions. There does seem to be general support for annexation as the answer to the WWPL's budget woes. Plans for a new District facility is not the real issue holding up annexation discussions going anywhere.
The City has never discussed putting together an ordinance stating intent to join the library district. In fact, this year it has stated it will not consider annexation if the District continues its plan to build. (last year the excuse was Plaza Way, the year before it was WALNET). Since the District can afford to build and contract with the City for annexation - it is unclear to me why this building effort is perceived as a roadblock to any future Annexation Agreement. The Annexation Agreement is the document that works out what the new District will look like. It is developed after the acceptance of the ordinance of the RLD and before a vote.
The Council too has refused to answer questions or respond to citizen input regarding this issue. The LUC met with the City several times and none of its recommendations (on green sheet passed out at LUC meeting) were met.
Yes the residents of 4 & 8 should have better and stable library service closer to where they live. However, working with the City to destroy the Rural Library District and gain access to the building fund is counter productive. The District may be amenable to a rational discussion of ideas for how it can better serve those people who prefer to use the WWPL. It is right not to respond to threats, ridicule and accusations.
Mrs. Hammond is correct to say past frustrations and failed contracts need to be risen above so the W.W. Valley can move forward on a District Library system that will grow and develop - providing seamless resource sharing and universal access for those member jurisdications.. Unfortunately the City of Walla Walla seems determined to once again repeat the cycle of the last few years . Two years ago, the City rejected annexation because of representation issues in WALNET. The Chair (WWC C library director) was attacked and withdrawal threatened. Addition of new members was blocked. Union Bulletin presents Mayor's perspective on Metz draft report. Last year the City would not consider annexation because RLD leasing of the Plaza library space was deemed responsible for none agreement on @ $400,000 contract demanded by the Council for RLD service area patrons' use of the WWPL. The Director of the RLD was atttacked. WWPL withdrew from WALNET. Council decision made without public input and without notice. Union Bulletin mum. This year, the building of a new facility (to replace leased space with designed space) is the reason given by City for not moving forward on annexation. The RLD Board is attacked, county residents are encouraged to rise up against the District. and divert tax monies to City library. UM relies on city and teritary sources (recyling old, inaccurate articles).DejaVue. The RLD breaks the cycle by refusing to play the game.
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