In light of the op-ed piece "Save it by cooperation" (Feb. 16), the
Board felt there was a need to clarify some of the statements made by the author as there is a difference between an editorial opinion and facts.
First, your library is open and has no intention of closing its doors. We are open 5 days a week, 1-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. As many are aware, the defeat of Measure A for a second time prevented us from expanding our hours and operating full branches in Gasquet and Klamath.
In Smith River, our branch is open and run entirely by volunteers. Del Norte Reads has expanded literacy to the Hispanic community and hired Rene Quintana as a literacy tutor.
The Klamath branch was to be staffed like Smith River, entirely by volunteers. Due to a lack of consistent staffing, the Klamath branch was closed. We entered into an agreement with the Klamath Community to keep the books along with some other materials and when the volunteers are available, the library is open. Consistent stable funding is necessary for expansion.
We actively seek grants as they apply to the needs of your library; however, grant monies usually don't pay salaries or day-to-day costs. Recently we received six new laptop computers from a Gates Foundation Grant. The laptops will be available as soon as security locks and wiring are installed. The addition of the new computers to our existing computers will increase the community's access to the Internet and other services.
Grant funds from our local RAC committee also allowed us to add an additional 150 titles to our collection of local nature literature.
There have been recent personnel changes. Patty Hector resigned after receiving an excellent offer to join a network of libraries in the north state. We were sad to see her go but understood it was an opportunity that could not be turned down.
Two volunteers have resigned and 10 new volunteers have come on board. Two part-time employees have chosen to resign, and we had more than 35 applicants to fill those positions. Interviews have taken place for those positions. Two people have been promoted. We are currently interviewing applicants for the director's position.
Changes? Yes! Closing the doors of your library? No!
One thing on which we agree with the op-ed's author is that by working together miracles can happen. Each individual action makes a difference. Many patrons have paid a volunteer tax since Measure A failed. The Wonder Bus has a new home and hopefully will be on the road soon, due to the Library District, First Five, Del Norte Unified School District and the county working together.
Rotary, Women's Club, Sunrise Garden Club, Friends of the Library and individual patrons continue to donate books. 4-H children raised money through a car wash that resulted in the addition of 54 new children's books. Let's not forget the Christmas Wish List, sponsored by The Daily Triplicate, that had to be amended twice because so many wanted to donate. Redwood School children also donated books during the holidays.
In spite of our limited stable resources, by working together we can do great things. Someone pays for our Internet service; others contribute to the foundation, some help at yard sales. Our board members are volunteers and do not receive any compensation. It can be a stressful situation making it all work, but for those of us who love our library and our community, it is an honor to serve.
Due to the efforts of many hands working together, a new roof for the library is on order when our spring sunshine appears. Funds may be available for new furniture and carpet as well. Friends of the Library continue to support your library with the Book Corner at Ben Franklin, on-line sales, and other fundraisers.
We plan to offer more community events at our facility. Last year, Mark Renner presented a standing room-only talk on agates of our local beaches. The state poet laureate will return in April as a featured guest at your library. There also will be a festive chamber mixer hosted by The Daily Triplicate on our grounds.
We are in need of stable funding and continue to seek ways to obtain such support. Our downtown location services our patrons and the community well. The opinions expressed recently reflect an air of doom and gloom for the library and offer only one possible solution. It is a matter of perspective ¬Ė is the cup half empty or overflowing? As each person steps up and pours more time, effort and love into the cup it overflows into the community and the possibilities of what we can do together are infinite. Is the cup filled with despair or overflowing with possibilities? It's all a matter of perspective.
Dennis Sutton is president of the library board. Library board members Linda Koreski, Jeanne Kula and Karen Rath assisted Sutton in writing this piece.